When I first heard about the Campaign for Pease Pottage Hospital, I was suspicious, it sounded just like an opportunistic attempt by local Tories to jump onto a bandwagon.
After some time, the campaign has produced a document, which they say backs up their case and anyone who disagrees is clearly just trying to land political blows.
Having now read the extensive (!) 7 page proposal document, I am even more sceptical about the Smith-Maude campaign.
First of all, I spotted at least two spelling mistakes. Now, that may mark me out as a pedant, but they are clear and they are evidence that the document was not properly proof-read. One wonders if any of the numbers are also incorrect.
Next, it is full of assumptions. Firstly, that the acute healthcare spend in Horsham PCT per person is uniformly applied across the other areas covered. Secondly that the percentage of that to be spent at the new hospital would be 75%. Thirdly that the refinancing (what we call interest) rate would be 7%. Fourthly, that East Surrey Hospital will be affected but will still be tenable if it widens it’s catchment along the M25 (but no consideration of the knock on effects to the East or West of Redhill) – oh, but if it isn’t the new hospital would be able to cope and the people of Redhill and Reigate would be happy.
There are lots of numbers, but some are given as ‘of the order of’, or ‘indicative’ (which means that they are not accurate estimates) and others are absolute, despite seemingly having been derived from the earlier estimates. The operating cost is given based on Frimley Park, but no more local hospital ‘given their state of turmoil’, and because that is a larger hospital it is scaled, but the scaling has not been enumerated. Are there local factors which differentiate this area from Camberley such as housing pressure?
Some startling omissions as well. Nowhere is training mentioned. Nowhere does it refer to Royal College guidelines. Why should it? Because the Royal Colleges suggest that for training to be of sufficient value, a unit must have a decent catchment area, of around the 400-500,000 range. In order to attract employees, a hospital really wants to be recognised by the Royal Colleges, as most doctors want to move up the ranks and gain experience. The proposed 300,000 catchment area might be too small, and this was pretty much the same problem that Crawley Hospital had in the first place. Find me an acute hospital which has lost accreditation from a Royal College and where that service is not under threat (or already gone).
Also, this would not be a PFI hospital, it would be privately managed, rather than being run by the NHS and leased from a PFI vehicle, according to the proposals. Do we have such a hospital in the UK? Would the managers seek to carve out part of the hospitals facilities for lucrative private care? What will the costs be to the NHS of oversight of a privately run hospital? Will the operating company be allowed to make a profit? If it makes a loss, or suffers financial strain, what are the guarantees that services will be maintained?
Bagnall’s report was far more detailed, and we were able to see the ‘working out’. I supported the Bagnall Plan because it was well considered and the proposal was a viable 776-bed hospital. The C4PPH proposals are, going by a document of seven pages, less grounded in detailed research and less sustainable.