On 10th May, the Board of Shropshire CCG – the top health bosses in Shropshire – voted to reject Future Fit in its current form.
Their decision has effectively been ignored, with the CCG Accountable Officer David Evans and CCG Chair Julian Povey lobbying hard to push through a crucial document rejected by their Board – a ‘Strategic Outline Case’ that takes us a decisive step closer to A&E closure.
The next attempt to force the plans through will be on:
Wednesday 29th June, at 11.00 am; Shrewsbury/Oswestry Rooms, Shropshire Council, The Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY2 6ND
They have called this meeting at short notice, and they have called it during the day. It is clear that the intention is to make it as difficult as possible for the public to attend. There’s no question that a large turnout from members of the public was really powerful on 10th May, and influenced the outcome.
If you can possibly attend the meeting on Wednesday, please come along.
You can download the papers for the meeting here: http://www.shropshireccg.nhs.uk/governing-board-meetings-2016
It’s extraordinary that the Accountable Officer and Chair of the CCG have just ignored the decision of their own Board, and have done everything they can to take forward the Future Fit plans to close an A&E and downgrade a hospital.
It’s extraordinary also that they are attempting to do this even though the Local Medical Committee (representing GPs in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin) opposes Future Fit. The plan is that 30% of hospital care is shifted out of hospital settings and into the community – but the resources to make this possible just don’t exist. GPs know this will be an absolute disaster, for GP care and for patients. The top officials of the CCG haven’t succeeded in convincing GPs – so they’re ignoring GPs instead! They’ve even called their sign off meeting BEFORE a crucial meeting of the Local Medical Committee on 5th July, where GPs were set to discuss this with the CCG Accountable Officer David Evans.
We’ve also seen a massive propaganda offensive from hospital bosses to try to persuade us that closing an A&E is a good idea. The main effect seems to have been to irritate an awful lot of people! We’ve heard informal reports that they’ve spent £65,000 on this. We don’t know if that is correct or not – but it’s genuinely disgraceful to see patient care being cut while money is thrown at ‘marketing’ a flawed and unwanted plan. Is this really a proper use of public money?
If either A&E closes, people will die. It is as important as it ever has been to safeguard the two A&Es and two hospitals we have now. The document being put to the meeting is the one that has already been rejected. There’s lots of fluffy stuff in reports admitting there are problems and pretending they will all be sorted out by October. The core of the plans is absolutely unchanged. Future Fit is a cuts and closures plan. Please come to the CCG Board meeting on Wednesday if you can make it. It’s going to be a very, very important meeting.
CLOSURE OF THE STROKE REHAB UNIT AT SHREWSBURY
On Monday 20th June, the specialist Stroke Rehab Unit at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital was replaced by an elderly supported discharge service, for older people medically fit for discharge. The Stroke Rehab service at Shrewsbury has been closed down. If you have been sent a denial by a hospital manager, ignore it. If you want to check this out for yourself, pop into Ward 22 S at the hospital. Stroke rehab has gone.
This means that all stroke care, acute and rehab, is now centralised at Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital.
The games playing around this has been shocking. We found out what was happening on Thursday 16th June, and publicised it. The hospital trust, SaTH, just denied it! Later on, they tried a clever ‘Look over there’ distraction trick. They insisted loudly that the ‘Rehabilitation Unit’ was NOT going to close. They forgot to say that the ‘Rehabilitation Unit’ they were talking about was a completely different service that had never been at risk – and they also forgot to say that the specialist Stroke Rehab Unit was closing down three days later!
Most recently, they’ve been trying to insist this is just ‘temporary’ – but staff have been given no hint that this is a short-term closure, and firmly believe it is intended to be permanent. The specialist team is being broken up. Doctors have been transferred to Telford, therapists have been redeployed, and specialist nurses have no way of maintaining their specialist skills. Unless we can force a reversal, ‘temporary’ will become permanent by default.
There have been a great many twists and turns from hospital bosses on this. You can read the detail in a letter that we’re sending to Chief Executive Simon Wright. Click for the letter: Letter to Simon Wright 26th June.
The loss of this service is important. If someone has had a significant stroke, they’re going to find it quite hard to communicate how they’re feeling, and what their personal goals for the future might be. They need support from family members. Patient outcomes depend on getting the right support from professionals – but that in turn depends on family members helping professionals identify what will make most difference for their loved ones. Having this service only in Telford makes it much harder for families from Powys, South and South West Shropshire, and North West Shropshire to have that really valuable input.
It’s hard to work out what hospital bosses are up to, because the story slides around so much – but there seem to be plans to discharge people home with less support than they would get in the Rehab Unit, and even to care for other patients in General Rehab instead of specialist Stroke Rehab. This would be against the national guidance from NICE.
The closure of the Shrewsbury service is bad news for Telford too. The Princess Royal’s Stroke Unit is busy, and can’t just pick up extra patients from Shropshire. This almost certainly means worse care for stroke patients across our whole area, Telford and Wrekin as well as Shropshire and Powys.
Hospital bosses are hugely on the defensive here. We want to push them back, and get this closure reversed. Please help.
TWO THINGS TO DO
- Please email Simon Wright, Chief Executive of the hospital trust. Ask him to stop the closure of Shrewsbury’s Stroke Rehab service. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org
- Please also contact your MP. None of our MPs has done a particularly good job so far at campaigning for adequate healthcare for ALL of us, Telford and Wrekin, Shropshire, and Powys. They need a reminder that they are here to represent us. Here are their emails:
- Philip Dunne: email@example.com
- Daniel Kawczynski: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Owen Paterson: Patersono@parliament.uk
- Lucy Allan: email@example.com
- Mark Pritchard: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please spend a few minutes sending a couple of emails. We’d be delighted to hear how you get on.