‘The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day’: Dewsbury Hospital Service cuts due mid September

The public meeting held on 23 August 2016 at Dewsbury Town Hall was about the upcoming changes to Dewsbury Hospital services, which will kick in over the weekend of 17 September.

Consultant-led maternity services will no longer be available and will be replaced by a midwife-led birthing unit. Mothers expecting complicated births are due to be sent to Pinderfields. There will be reduced opening hours at the Dewsbury’s children’s assessment unit, from 10am-8pm.

North Kirklees Support the NHS have dubbed the scheme a “recipe for disaster” and say   it is ludicrous to have a midwife-led unit so far away from the consultant-led and emergency surgery facilities. They point out that the difference between a low-risk birth and a high-risk birth can be as little as six minutes.

Please sign the petition to keep all services at Dewsbury District Hospital

At the meeting, Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust said that they are working with unprecedented  levels of demand (i.e. need) for its services.

Why?

Care Closer to Home is Jam Tomorrow

In 2013, at the “Meeting the Challenge” Consultation sign off – which everyone thought was unfair and without a shred of ‘independence’ anyway – North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group said that no changes to  Dewsbury hospital would take place until Care Closer to Home was up and running and able to keep people out of hospital.

Even further back in time, the Grasping the Nettle reconfiguration of 2007 promised more Care Closer to Home.  That didn’t materialise, so why should anyone have confidence that there will be ‘improvement’?

In the “Through the Looking Glass” world of North Kirklees CCG, Care Closer to Home has turned out to be jam tomorrow:

‘The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day.’
‘It MUST come sometimes to “jam to-day,”‘ Alice objected.
‘No, it can’t,’ said the Queen. ‘It’s jam every OTHER day: to-day isn’t any OTHER day, you know.’

How the CCG thinks that withdrawing money from Mid Yorks Hospital Trust for vanity projects like a renal specialist across the Healds Road in the GP surgery opposite the hospital, or a skin clinic at another GP surgery in the countryside somewhere is Care Closer to Home, I don’t know.

It all depends where you live. People with poorly children may have chosen to live near  Dewsbury hospital to be within easy reach for trips to A&E and visiting. They will now need to go to Pinderfields if their child needs an inpatient stay.  Care further from home.

Time and again at the 23rd August public meeting, the Mid Yorks Hospital Trust and North Kirklees CCG used the 2013 “Meeting the Challenge” sign off decision to legitimise the  upcoming maternity and children’s service cuts and changes at Dewsbury hospital, but the audience was not convinced, because experience trumps rhetoric every time.

This bodes ominously for the proposed changes being hatched in secret by the architects of the West Yorkshire Sustainablilty and Transformation Plan.

Health and Social Care Act 2012 is source of problem

When we used to have a National Health Service, finance allocation would be distributed according to need and since deprived communities with low incomes and sometimes contaminated environments had more health need they would be allocated more resources.

Now this does not happen, because the Health and Social Care Act 2012 replaced the National Health Service.

The risk register compiled by civil servants ahead of the Act was illegally suppressed by the coalition government. When it was leaked last year, professionals could see that the predicted risks were coming to pass: reduced services, fragmented pathways and blind decision making.

North Kirklees CCG said it has to keep within budget. And a Mid Yorks Hospital Trust Board meeting had to review the policy to retain safe staffing levels by increasing spending on agency staff, otherwise the Trust would be subject to a ‘failure regime’. The Francis Report after the Stafford Hospital scandal counts for nothing with  the regulators now, it seems.

We are 6 years into massive underfunding of the NHS

David Nicholson and Simon Stevens have both used their time as NHS England CEOs to implement successive governments’ public spending cuts, that have led to a shortfall in NHS funding of at least £17.5bn/year, averaged over the 10 years between 2010 and 2020.

The NHS needs an increase of 4% per year, just to keep pace with population growth, increased complexity of treatments and price inflation in essential medical supplies – but has not been getting it – just a miserly 0.9% increase/year.

Between 2010 and 2015, the NHS needed a funding increase of £20bn/year but it got £7bn/year – suffering a total funding shortfall over that period of £65bn  (or £13bn/year).

Between 2015 and 2020, the NHS needs a funding increase of £30bn/year, but it is going to get an extra £8bn/year.  Over this period, the NHS will suffer a total funding shortfall of £110bn, (or £22bn/year).

As a result of these so-called “efficiency cuts”, the NHS is underfunded – actually spending less than it should on healthcare. That’s quite the opposite of an ‘overspend’! But even an injection of cash – although necessary – will not fix the ills of the health service.

Through the NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans, HM Government is conducting an experiment on the health of the English people on an unprecedented scale.  North Kirklees CCG’s move to ‘integrated care’ is an import from the US. Accountable Care Organisations, set up with a financial product called ‘Special Purpose Vehicle’ like those set up for the PFI hospital deals, are the next big thing to replace failing Trusts or CCGs and are themselves a failed US import.

Time to say STOP!

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