Saving Glenfield Hospital for Sick Children
Our nearest hospital for sick children
Subject: NHS Englands consultation in proposals to implement standards for Congenital Heart disease services for children and adults in England.
Open letter to Victoria Atkins MP
At your recent Broadband event held at the Maltby Le Marsh Hall you spoke of me as a passionate councillor. Thank you for that accurate assessment but where I really get passionate is when the most innocent are threatened, babies and young children with life threatening conditions such as congenital heart problems.
I am a member of the Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny for Lincolnshire.
I am asking if you are aware of the plans of NHS England’s consultation about the proposal to do away with Level 1 Congenital Heart Disease services at Glenfield’s Hospital, Leicester University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL). If this proposal does go ahead it will mean there would be no Hospital in the East Midlands capable of delivering the service to our residents meaning longer journeys with those risks attached.
I believe the approach of NHS England has not been fair and equitable. I believe that NHS England do not understand and have not taken into account the equality and health inequality affecting rural areas of Lincolnshire and the areas of deprivation and inaccessibility of public transport. I believe they have not taken an accurate assessment of the extra travel times to get to Birmingham or Leeds that if these plans go through will hit our residents.
Glenfield is the only unit that has mobile ECMO (Extracorporal Membrane Oxygenation) and is the Hospital that provides training on all ECMO services. NHS England have failed to show how these will be provided in the future if Glenfield was to lose its service.
As previously mentioned if this service is lost there will be no service in the East Midlands leaving a big gap in the map of health services for our residents.
I think that NHS England have not been taking the growth plans of University Hospital of Leicester seriously and Health Scrutiny are looking for evidence to include dates and times of visits to ULH to discuss these plans that NHS England are saying are not sound. It can be seen that the growth plan is starting to take place as patients from Peterborough and Northamptonshire are now using Glenfield.
I feel that NHS England have not been fair in its consistency of assessing equally of the hospitals currently providing the service and Newcastle comes to light as one of these. Newcastle is being given special consideration and timescales to achieve standards altered to be more flexible. This offer has not been given to other hospitals and in fact the standards being used have not been met by most centres and it is not fair that Glenfield is being unfairly judged.
There is clear bias in the way information has been given in the consultation without explaining the full facts and indeed without comparison with other centres.
Also there is a section which unfairly seems to link what happened at Oxford with Glenfield which is somewhat misleading as Glenfield has excellent mortality rates and indeed surpasses most centres in safety compared to the national expectations.
The standards set also seem to have been changed from average over three years to immediate effect and the reports from May 16 say not one of the centres meets the standards and yet NHS England has not shown any of the centres plans to meet the standards.
The health scrutiny also have serious doubts about the arrangements for public meetings even though they state that they want as many people as possible to contribute to the consultation. For example the public meeting for Lincolnshire is set for Lincoln with a limit of 100 people out of a greater Lincolnshire area of 1million. Not only that, Lincoln is not conveniently accessible to many of the residents of your constituency and certainly not to those who rely on public transport.
The other concern with the consultation is the fact that we are in purdah for the County Council elections for a great period of the time this consultation runs. This will impact on the quality of the engagement plus the period after the election when new health scrutiny committee representation will cause delay as the new county council gets organised at and after its AGM.
Both Newcastle and Southampton are in the proposal to keep at level 1 and yet the consultation guide is showing that both will not meet the standards, leading to the thought that NHS England is happy to have hospitals delivering lower standards of care or they have not considered the shortfall both of which is not equitable or fair when dealing with Glenfield.
There are also concerns over Transparency of decisions and conflicts of interests that need clarification and have been asked for by health scrutiny.
Please have a look at the response from The Health Scrutiny Committee for Lincolnshire in full which I would be happy to forward to you if you require.
Cllr. Steve Palmer
Alford and Sutton Division
Tel 01507 440194 mobile 07954 290946
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