Monthly Archives: May 2016

Another nail in the Future Fit coffin

Tuesday night was a victory for the NHS, and an important victory at that.

Around 80 members of the public went to an ‘Extraordinary Joint CCG Board Meeting’ where health bosses were planning to sign off the blueprint for closing an A&E. The meeting, at Shrewsbury Town Football Club, was packed. People stood at the back of the room because there weren’t enough chairs.

And what happened? The Board of Shropshire CCG voted against its Chair and Accountable Officer, and rejected the document before them, the ‘Strategic Outline Case’ that would have closed an A&E, downgraded a hospital, and shifted a lot of hospital activity out into the community, for GPs or the Community Trust to pick up – without providing the money and staff to do the extra work.

To have a CCG Board overturn its own Chair and Accountable Officer and reject a cuts and closure plan that has been the accepted wisdom for 2½ years – that’s unprecedented. That just doesn’t happen. This is a massive blow to the appalling ‘Future Fit’ project. Continue reading

Open letter to the Future Fit leaders

We are writing to you about our concerns over the reorganisation plans for local hospital care.

On Tuesday, the joint CCG Board meeting has as its main agenda item the ‘Future Fit Strategic Outline Case (SOC)’. There is an immediate problem here. This is not a Future Fit Strategic Outline Case.

A 27th April email from Simon Wright, Chief Executive of SaTH, to Shropshire Defend Our NHS confirms this. Mr Wright makes a clear distinction between SaTH’s Sustainable Services Programme and Future Fit, stating ‘The Board recognises that communication around the two aligned but separate programmes of sustainable Services and Future Fit has been confusing for the public and we are hoping to make this much clearer going forward’. Mr Wright clarifies the remit of the SOC, explaining The SaTH Board is concerned with ensuring we have two healthy and vibrant hospitals, and adding On this basis the Board has approved the Sustainable Services Strategic Outline Case and the CCG will be asked to do the same’.

It could not be clearer. Mr Wright regards Sustainable Services and Future Fit as separate programmes. He believes the SOC is part of the Sustainable Services Programme, not part of Future Fit. This is Hospital Fit not Future Fit. This is not a whole system approach.

Will Community Fit can somehow haul things back, and identify the resources for new community and primary care models that will plug the gaps left by reductions in hospital care? No. The sole aim of Community Fit in the Terms of Reference approved by the two CCGs is: ‘… to deliver a sustainable, community based, health and social care system focussed on prevention and continuity of care, delivered by integrated teams of clinicians, through bespoke local solutions utilising their unique local asset base’. The focus is on using the resources and staff that are already there, the pre-existing ‘unique local asset base’, and not transferring resources.

The SOC is not about transformation of the healthcare system across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin. This is about SaTH seeking to resolve its own financial and organisational issues in isolation, and seeking CCG support for this. If this approach continues, the implications for GPs, community NHS services and patients are profound and damaging. Continue reading