Southend Labour Party today published a statement on the Success Regime moves to merge three hospitals.
|Cllr Charles Willis|
Health and Social Care Spokesperson, Cllr Charles Willis, said: ”We cannot accept any proposed changes for health and care in Southend unless we see improvements for patients in every line of care for which there are proposals to change. The Success Regime has published evidence demonstrating financial savings for the Government but none that demonstrate why changes will improve the standard of health and care. The NHS is here to help those who are unwell, not to scrimp on care. The NHS has a worldwide reputation for excellence and we cannot afford to see it reduced to cost-cutting rather than delivery world-class care.”
The Statement was delivered following discussions with key individuals in the Success Regime, Clinical Commissioning Group and debate at Southend Council.
Patient groups and health and care professions will be asked to contribute views to the specific issues contained within the Sustainability and Transformation Plan and latest plans by the Success Regime. The Labour Party will draw upon those comments to shape its response to the final plan expected to be published for consultation later this year.
The current Government policy of cutting funding from local and national NHS services is based upon the policies of cost-cutting and does not reflect the needs of the UK, and specifically, residents of Southend. Any restructuring of local services must, be based upon the principle of what is best for patients. It must maintain, and preferably enhance, existing standards of care.
The addition of a specialist facilities for people with the most serious health conditions is a valuable asset to South Essex, with the potential to save more lives. These facilities must be utilised efficiently but people must not be taken directly by ambulance to this centre unless clinicians consider this the best option available option.
We must have a network of GPs and associated healthcare providers within easy walking distance for every resident within Southend – the current round of closures of single GP practices must be offset with increased capacity across Southend.
Southend has a higher proportion of elderly residents and we need to be assured that health and social care are working in a much closer manner that facilitates people being able to leave hospital when their treatment has concluded, to a place where a comprehensive, bespoke package of care can be provided to facilitate full recovery.
Southend Hospital requires additional support to become the centre of excellence Southend residents deserve. We look to NHS England and the Department of Health to provide this support. Southend hospital must remain the centre for care for residents, to reduce the stress of travel to other towns for those who are disabled, rely upon public transport, or who have responsibilities such as caring for others. Any option that reduces availability of care at Southend Hospital will deny the strong local night-time economy and potential reduction in patient outcomes due to longer travel times.
There has been a paucity of information available to Southend Council and key stakeholders. It is difficult to fully scrutinise proposals from the Mid and South Essex Success Regime due to this lack of information, or lateness of information arriving in the public domain. An example of this is the lack of any data on patient outcomes. Only by providing this data can the Success Regime expect fully informed views in response to the consultation process about to take place. We consider this consultation process to have been sub-optimal and expects communication to improve in the most critical stages of the work delivered by the Success Regime.
There are no concrete proposals currently before us on which to take a view, and the final decision will rest with NHS England in any case. We will oppose any changes to local health services that are not clearly in the interests of improving patient care.
We will oppose any changes that leave Southend Hospital without a 24hour A&E department. We will oppose any changes that threaten the long-term viability of Southend Hospital, having particular regard to the number of consultants and specialists available to deal with patient needs throughout the hospital. We note that it is current practice to take heart patients from Southend directly to the specialist cardio unit in Basildon. We want to see far more clear data on clinical outcomes that result from this practice. We will support further specialisation only where it is backed up by evidence of improved patient outcomes, not for reasons of cost cutting.