We provide a selection of news stories from local papers across the UK, to illustrate current events concerning community hospitals.
1st April 2017
Campaigners across Devon formed human 'red lines' around hospitals today to protest against Government cuts to health services and protect the county's hospitals. They said that lives are at risk if cuts of £550m from Devon's health spending go ahead.
Save Our Hospital Services (SOHS) Devon is co-ordinating the public support across the county to oppose NHS England's Sustainability and Transformation Plan. Campaigners say that the plan, under the guise of providing a better service, will in reality mean a cut of £550m from Devon's health spending.
In East Devon, there were protests at Honiton, Ottery St Mary, Sidmouth, Seaton, Exeter's Whipton and RD&E hospitals and Okehampton. In North Devon there were marches at Ilfracombe, Torrington, Bideford, South Molton and Barnstaple.
"The people of Honiton came out in force today to protest against the closure of all the medical ward beds. There was a sea of red as over 350 people walked through the town to form a human red line around the hospital. West Country TV news filmed the whole event and interviewed many of the protestors including the Chairman of Honiton Hospital League of Friends. Town and District Councillors and MP Neil Parish all came along to show support and a small group presented bunches of flowers to staff on duty on behalf of everyone present.
With public support high for challenging the closures, the League of Friends is in discussion with lawyers about the potential of seeking a Judicial Review of the decision to close all the beds. In one week nearly £25k has been raised by the town towards legal fees with a cheque for £10k coming from one local business Otter Garden Centre."
Erin Bolton, who is Bereavement Care Lead Nurse at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, has received the 2017 Nurse of the Year award presented by the British Journal of Nursing (BJN).
Mrs Bolton is the bereavement care nurse for Clitheroe Community Hospital, Pendle Community Hospital and Accrington Victoria Community Hospital as well as the larger general hospitals.
Link to the article
Councillor Claire Wright put forward a proposal that the Devon CCG provides assurances to the Scrutiny committee on 14 areas of concern.
"Following today’s health and wellbeing scrutiny committee meeting 14 assurances will now need to be provided by the CCG on its decision within 28 days, which the committee will examine in its new form after the elections on 4 May. If the assurances are insufficient or inadequate, the decision to close 72 beds will be referred to the Secretary of State for Health."
The committee was concerned that the consultation was flawed, and wanted assurances that no beds were to be closed before there was sufficient alternative provision.
For details of the debate and the requirements follow this link
Concerned staff have been called in for talks with their bosses over the future of a hospital - as 33,000 people sign a petition to try to keep it open. NHS leaders have held discussions with workers amid rumours that Leek Moorlands Hospital could shut by September.
The start of the CCGs' 12-week consultation has been delayed until May 8. But the delay means 64 beds at Bradwell Hospital – which are due to close in March – will already be shut by the time the review starts. It comes as all beds have been closed at Longton Cottage Hospital and Cheadle Hospital and one ward has been mothballed at Burslem's Haywood Hospital.
North Staffordshire Healthwatch co-ordinator Ian Syme: "In May, the reality is that 169 community hospital beds will have already have been shut without any consultation. This whole process is in disrepute and disarray. The CCGs have done this before all forms of consultation and I'm appalled." Link to article
Health authorities have confirmed that inpatient facilities at four community hospitals in Devon are to close.
A total of 72 beds will be lost at Honiton, Okehampton, Seaton and Exeter Whipton Hospitals. But Sidmouth Hospital is to get some extra bed provision. Link to article
The petition, demanding that Ross-on-Wye Community Hospital is not made ‘bedless’ has been created on the website: change.org.
Mr Utting said that upon reading the STP, he was concerned that beds in community hospitals across the county could be cut over the next five years.
He added that with the cuts, there is the fear that some community hospitals could face closure. “I think it’s so wrong,” Mr Utting told the Gazette. He said that the community hospitals provide a great halfway house for people who need looking after when they are still too ill to return home after a stay in Hereford County Hospital. He added that when a relative is moved to a community hospital from the county hospital, friends and relatives will find it easier to visit them, the costs of travel to Hereford and parking costs outside the hospital can be “astronomical.” He added: “I want to see the Community Hospital expanded and embrace technology to allow more patients to be treated locally.” Link to article
Future of inpatient beds at Rothbury Hospital to be debated in House of Commons Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan in the House of Commons. JAMES WILLOUGHBY Email 12:06Thursday 02 March 2017 0 HAVE YOUR SAY Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has secured an adjournment debate in the House of Commons Chamber on the future of inpatient beds at Rothbury Community Hospital.
A three-month public consultation, led by the NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), is under way to consider the fate of the ward. It runs until Tuesday, April 25. The proposal is to permanently close the 12-bed inpatient facility and shape existing services around a Health and Wellbeing Centre on the hospital site. Link to article
Richard Mould, the leader of Bicester Town Council, said: "While the status of Oxfordshire’s community hospitals will not be consulted upon until phase two of the consultation, we are concerned that the outcomes determined in phase one may impact phase two, and that in turn might have a detrimental effect on healthcare in Bicester."
"We have already seen the closure of Wantage Community Hospital. I do not want the same outcome for Bicester. We have a brilliant healthcare facility right on our doorstep. This needs to be protected and enhanced."
Campaigners have won their fight to have a hospital building listed as a community asset. The group stepped in to try and make sure Cheadle Hospital remains in community hands.
It comes as a controversial review into the future of North Staffordshire's community hospitals has been delayed for three months. NHS leaders revealed the 12-week consultation has been 'paused' until May 8. The decision was blamed on the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election and May's Staffordshire County Council elections.
Campaigners say there are concerns about the long term future of the hospital. Link to article
NHS bosses say the health service in Staffordshire needs to move away from bed-based care to ensure it is sustainable in the future. Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent's controversial Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) recommends that dozens of community hospital beds remain closed, to help plug a projected £542 million funding gap.
The STP recommends that community beds at Longton Cottage Hospital and Cheadle Hospital remain closed, along with 20 beds at Burslem's Haywood Hospital. But the plan does not mention the beds at Bradwell or Leek Moorlands. Link to article
A £1.3M scheme has been unveiled by health chiefs to develop and improve health services in a Hampshire town. Fareham and Gosport Clinical Commissioning Group has revealed plans to invest and bring in more services to Fareham Community Hospital.
It is part of a two-year pilot scheme after it was found that only 62% of the total capacity was being used by current health services. Now, under the two-year pilot, the CCG will double the occupancy rate at the hospital and will provide more enhanced services including an enhanced GP facility and a minor injury facility. Link to article
NEW Devon CCG proposes that only 3 of their 12 community hospitals have inpatient beds, and that the number of beds reduces from 143 to 72.
The CHA Report responding to the consultation proposals has been shared widely, and has been submitted by campaign groups with their documents to help support their case.
Today marks the end of a consultation over where 72 community hospital beds will be axed in Devon – but numerous calls have instead been made for the proposals to be dropped.
The Your Future Care consultation was launched in October by NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) to determine which one of four proposals it will adopt to close beds within the Exeter and East Devon area. Hospital at risk of losing beds are in Whipton, Seaton, Exmouth, and Sidmouth. In the options Tiverton hospital will definitely remain open. Honiton and Okehampton have not been included in the options so will close.
The Community Hospitals Association (CHA) is against the plans to reduce beds across Eastern Devon, and in particular opposes having only three of the 12 hospitals with beds. It has also criticised the proposals as containing inaccurate information and there not being enough evidence to back the dismantling of valued rural services.
Dr Helen Tucker, vice president of the Community Hospitals Association, said: "The CHA proposes a pause in the process, to allow for corrections and clarifications, consider more evidence from research and evaluations, undertake a genuine consideration of invited alternative options, and carry out further planning with each of the affected communities."
Also against the proposals is Devon County Councillor Claire Wright who said "I don't believe that the there is evidence to support the move as being positive or safe for patients, nor do I believe that it will save money.
Express & Echo 7th Jan 2017 Read more
Health campaigners claim community hospital bed closures are a "huge risk to take" ahead of the end of a consultation to axe 72 beds in Devon. After a detailed examination of the Your Future Care (YFC) proposals, 38 Degrees and Keep our NHS Public (KONP) say NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) fails to make a case for its plan to close community hospitals and replace them with care in the community. They claim the proposals are insupportable and carry greater risk and uncertainty than the CCG acknowledges. Read more
News stories that have been posted on the CHARM website are available to download in a pdf document