Birch Ward

But, seeing as I’m back, here’s my thoughts on the recent announcement that one of the wards at St Cross Hospital is about to close:

Birch Ward’s shut down at the end of the month is appalling for the town. There hasn’t been any real consultation. It seems that some people heard about it before others – Jerry Roodhouse and Mark Pawsey were quick to comment, but the local PCT – who commission medical procedures at St Cross for the people of the town were not (so I am told) asked for their opinion.

The Tories will blame the last government, and their pals in the Lib Dems will play the same card. However, the pressures on hospital trusts are being imposed by this government despite promises to ‘ringfence’ the NHS. On top of taking a hard line on budgets – causing one hospital to have been transferred to the private sector where the company itself has suggested that care may suffer – they are pressing ahead with the plan to impose a massive restructure. even though the Health Bill has not been passed yet, they have closed agencies and started to spend some of the £3billion that the reorganisation will cost.

Still, the local Tories and Lib Dems can do something. They can work with the Rugby Labour councillors who have called for UHCW to reconsider the decision, and they can join the calls for a Judicial Review.

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Thanks for nothing, Pawsey

According to our MP, the proposals to reduce the Urgent Treatment services at St Cross Hospital is just a “tidying up exercise”. That’s what the Telegraph has quoted him as saying, anyway.

Yesterday I went to Coventry and saw the headline in the Coventry version of the Telegraph that should raise concerns for people in Rugby and Coventry: Coventry University Hospital facing record-breaking A&E figures. If more patients from Rugby are going to be going straight to University Hospital, won’t that put even more pressure on the A&E department there?

I was perhaps hoping that our main representative to the Government would be sticking up for the area, trying to retain important front line services, and would be trying to maintain the line he was taking before the election. As I noted some weeks ago, the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley came to Rugby to campaign for Mark Pawsey in the campaign, and said that there would be no service removals without a full review, and that he’d seen the plans that would retain emergency care at St Cross.

What proposals did Lansley see? Are they the ones we are seeing now? Because if they are, then he was being disingenuous, and so was our now MP. And if they aren’t, then does this not suggest that the Government are allowing front line service cuts even though they promised none, especially in the NHS?

Not that I expect answers. I had thought that Mark Pawsey had arranged a public meeting in order to represent his constituents. It seems he was more about promoting the views of the Trust.

Coventry University Hospital facing record-breaking A&E figures

The Tories and St Cross

First, an update on Mark Pawsey MP. Apparently he went to see the Trust heads about their proposals to cut the A&E department at St Cross Hospital. Let’s see how influential he is.

Before the election, Mr Pawsey was clear about his commitment to services at St Cross. He had the shadow Health Secretary of the time (and of course, now the actual Secretary of State), Andrew Lansley, come up to the town to campaign. At the end of the day, our MP can only get any concessions or changes if the Health Secretary is amenable to them

Before the election, Lansley said that he had seen the plans that would retain the emergency department. After the election, these plans involve at the very least removing the overnight provision, and possibly the whole thing. So it would be nice to know what it was that he saw.

Before the election, Lansley said that he would stop all proposals to remove services from district hospitals like St Cross until after a proper review had taken place. But these proposals are now going to be consulted on, so clearly he has not put a moratorium on them.

(source for last two paragraphs : Coventry Telegraph.)

Mind you, this is the same Andrew Lansley who before the election promised no large-scale changes to the NHS imposed from the centre, and today announced the policy to… massively change the way that the NHS is run by forcing GPs to hold the purse-strings. It’s also the same Andrew Lansley who flipped his house for profit and tried to get the taxpayer to fund improvements that increased the value.