Tamworth’s Member of Parliament, Christopher Pincher, last week met with the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT), Les Lawrence, to champion the concerns of local residents about potential healthcare changes.
HEFT has proposed to reform planned operation treatments at Good Hope, moving some to Heartlands and Solihull whilst at the same time moving other operation treatments currently performed elsewhere to Good Hope. The proposals are part of the Trust’s Patients First initiative to turn each Trust hospital into a specialist centre of excellence to improve patient treatments.
The Patients First proposals are currently undergoing public consultation before any final decision is made. A public meeting in Tamworth to discuss the proposals was organized by Mr Pincher in October. HEFT senior clinical staff met with local residents at the Holiday Inn Express on River Drive to outline their plans. At that meeting, HEFT officials stressed that only surgical operations would take place at the centres of excellence.
Pre and post operative care would take place, as now, at the patient’s local hospital. By specializing hospitals, HEFT clinicians believe they can reduce significantly the number of appointment cancellations and improve patient care, both of which they say will be much better for the hospital users and their families.
At their meeting last week, Mr Pincher stressed the importance of ensuring transport to Solihull and Heartlands for patients and their families. He describes this as a “deal breaker” which must be got right if the proposals are to work and win public confidence.
Mr Lawrence told Mr Pincher that HEFT is looking at a number of innovative solutions, which will provide transport to patients and their families to the hospital centre of excellence where their operations will be performed. He stressed that HEFT will tackle this issue which was raised by Mr Pincher and a number of residents at the October public meeting. Mr Lawrence also made clear that the Patients First proposals are led by clinicians, not administrators, because they are motivated by a desire to improve care and not any financial need.
The HEFT Chair also reiterated that accident and emergency services will continue at Good Hope and there is no question of any change there. Indeed, he told Mr Pincher that £3.2million is being pumped into Good Hope to improve its infrastructure and services.
After the meeting Mr Pincher said, “I was pleased to be able to meet Mr Lawrence to discuss directly with him my constituents’ concerns. As well as transport, I also stressed the importance of HEFT working closely with our other local NHS Trust in Burton, which runs the Sir Robert Peel.
“I asked Mr Lawrence to consider how HEFT can work with the Burton Trust to make better use of the Peel hospital. He told me that those discussions are on-going as well as with the South East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which commissions hospital services on behalf of GPs’ patients. He said the discussions are positive. So I am hopeful that a way forward can be found to make more use of Sir Robert Peel.”
The Burton NHS Hospitals Foundation Trust is also reviewing how it can make better use of its services at Sir Robert Peel. Mr Pincher held talks with the Trust throughout 2014 to encourage them to do this.
Mr Pincher concluded, “More money is being put into healthcare and we have some incredibly hard-working and dedicated NHS professionals. But we must ensure that our NHS is responsive to the demands of the people it serves. And as people’s needs change – particularly as more of us are living much longer and so require different kinds of healthcare – then our NHS must adapt too. Patients must come first.”