Let this be warning to Calderdale and Huddersfeield NHS hospitals Trust as they prepare the Full Business Case for the closure of Huddersfield Royal Infirmary – including its acute and emergency services – and its replacement by a small planned care clinic plus urgent care centre.
On 2 February 2017 the Chief Executive Officer of Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust said that assumptions made at the 2012/13 Meeting the Challenge consultations had been wrong. The public knew this at the time.
These consultations were about a similar downgrade at Dewsbury District Hospital. The Kirklees and Wakefield Joint Health Scrutiny Committee referred the proposals to the Secretary of State for Health – but when the failed marmalade salesman Jeremy Hunt referred it to the Independent Reconfiguration Review Panel they decided it was fine to go ahead.
How wrong they were. And the public knew that at the time.
The upshot, now that these false assumptions have been uncovered, is that on Thursday 6th April, a meeting of N Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group in parallel with Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group will consider a recommendation from the Star Chamber (what? are we back in the days of Tudors?) that Dewsbury hospital beds can’t be closed as planned in the ‘Meeting the Challenge’ Full Business Case.
This is because a recent review of the bed modelling, to take account of demand and capacity, length of stay and changes to the assumptions about drive time (where people picked up by ambulance would be conveyed), has led to a recommendation that it would not be safe to take out the number of beds proposed in the Full Business Case at this point in time.
The Star Chamber recommendations say that the number of hospital beds that are needed has not reduced to the extent that was originally planned, “despite work to develop enhanced services outside hospital settings” – aka care closer to home. The original Full Business Case planned for a reduction in beds across the system from 1148 to 985.
Revised modelling indicates that the number of beds that are required is 1118. So only 30 fewer beds, not 163 fewer.
An example of how Care Closer to Home is not delivering what they said it would, which the Dewsbury campaign group Save Our Local Hospital Services knew anyway!
Unsurprisingly, Dewsbury campaigners in N Kirklees Support the NHS are sceptical about the process of Joint Health Scrutiny Committees referring significant NHS changes to the Independent Reconfiguration Review Panel.
They say this process is presumably to ‘persuade’ the public into thinking there is some kind of democracy in this country and that local people elected as Councillors, have a say.
Save Our Local Hospital Services discovered that the ‘Chair’ of the IRP was a Conservative Party Peer, Lord Ribiero. The question then was,
‘Is a Conservative Peer going to overturn policy decisions of the Conservative Government?’
It transpired that he was not, so the appeal was rejected and the changes started to happen.
The plot thickens, when you unravel the tangle of corporate interests tied up with the Independent Reconfiguration Review Panel.