Chaos in the Community?
NHS Plans to
close Community Hospitals are reckless and shambolic
regular readers of Grey Power will know, the North Staffs Pensioners’
Convention has grave concerns about the NHS ‘My Care, My Way—Home First’
initiative to close Community Hospital beds in North Staffordshire.
Community Hospitals mostly provide rehabilitation for people recovering
from a spell in an acute hospital or those requiring support so they do not need
to be admitted in the first place.
‘My Care, My Way—Home First’ NHS managers say people will be looked after
in their own homes – we question whether there will be the staff, resources or
systems in place to make sure people are safe.
It has become clear that this strategy is not about better care as NHS
managers claim - it is driven by cost cutting at the expense of the most
this is partly about privatising NHS care – we believe that, as Community
Hospitals close, the NHS will be commissioning beds in private sector nursing
homes where the care is cheaper but often inferior to the NHS.
the start of the process in the early spring of 2015, the way the NHS managers
have gone about making changes and communicating with the public has been
shambolic to the point of farce. In
the last two months the programme of bed closures has been speeded up so that,
even though proper consultation has still not taken place, beds at Cheadle,
Bradwell and Haywood hospitals are closed or due for closure.
This is in addition to the wards that have already been closed at Longton.
If all these changes are carried through we will have gone from 250
Community Hospital beds in July 2015 to just 82 by Christmas this year.
pace of change could have disastrous consequences.
Our Committee decided that it is essential that we do everything we can
to raise the alarm. We postponed the
planned speakers for the October public meeting so that we could focus on this
matter. Over 80 people attended and
Marcus Warnes, Accountable Officer of the North Staffordshire Clinical
Commissioning Group, was left in no doubt about the strength and depth of public
feeling in our area.
the end of the meeting we read out the Open Letter to the two Clinical
Commissioning Groups. The letter was
signed by MPs Paul Farrelly, Ruth Smeeth, Tristram Hunt and Rob Flello, our
Chairwoman Janet Smallwood, Jenny Harvey (Unison Branch Secretary Staffordshire
Community Health), Malcolm Swann (Secretary Unison Retired Members Staffordshire
Community Health), Councillor Joan Bell (Chair of Stoke-on-Trent City Council's
Adults and Neighbourhoods Overview and Scrutiny Committee) and Ian Syme (Co-ordinator
North Staffs Healthwatch Campaign).
text of the Open Letter is reproduced at the end of this article.
the day after our public meeting over 40 members of the Convention with loud
hailer and posters made our way to the One Smithfield building in Hanley where
the CCG was meeting, and presented their members with the Open Letter.
Thursday 20th October
Stoke-on-Trent City Council voted unanimously for the following motion:
City Council notes the proposed closure of Community Beds at Longton Cottage,
Cheadle and Bradwell Hospitals and the devastating effect this will have on the
most vulnerable residents in this City. We
call on the CCG to put a hold on these plans until meaningful consultation has
taken place and a full impact assessment has been carried out.”
are co-operating with others in the community who share our concerns, we will be
sending the Open Letter to NHS England and those at Regional NHS level and
anybody else we can think of. In the
longer term, we will be gathering evidence of people’s experiences of care in
the community to form a report that will inform our future campaigning.
is near unanimous opposition in North Staffordshire to the current strategy as
it stands. If the NHS ignores this
and ploughs on with these plans there will be grave consequences for democracy
and for those who depend on the NHS for their care.