The Save Our NHS Leicestershire (SONHSL) campaign is very disappointed that Healthwatch Leicester and Leicestershire have decided to go against the recommendations of the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Joint Health Scrutiny Committee and back the removal of intensive care beds from the Leicester General without a consultation.
In a report issued yesterday, they stated:
“After listening to senior Hospital staff it is clear that there is an important clinical need to bring together the resources of the 3 units and create the 2 “Super” Intensive Care Units (ICU) which was referenced in the University of Hospitals (UHL) 5 year plan published in 2015.
“We do feel, strongly, that there have been missed opportunities for more focused engagement however this is something that both the Hospital Trust and the Clinical Commissioning Group agree on. We are aware of planned engagement events to remedy this.”
However, “engagement” events are simply used to tell the public what is going to happen, and do not allow for the public to have any real say. Unlike full public consultations (when done properly), “engagement” exercises rarely, if ever, engage the public in any meaningful way.
The decision to back the plans of local NHS bosses also flies in the face of Healthwatch Leicester and Leicestershire’s professed mission to “promote opportunities for consumer involvement in consultations, service reviews and surveys and actively seek out consumer feedback on their experiences of health and social care services across Leicester and Leicestershire.”
This is all the more astounding given that UHL’s decision to bypass a consultation is also potentially in breach of the law. Only last month, the High Court ruled against the decision of the Corby Clinical Commissioning Group “to replace Corby Urgent Care Centre with Same Day Access Hub over failure to undertake public consultation”.
Thankfully, Healthwatch Rutland have been more astute in listening to the concerns of health campaigners and members of the public and have backed a full public consultation into the plans of local NHS bosses.
Threat to the General
University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust plans to relocate Level 3 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds out of Leicester General Hospital.
For many years it has been the intention of UHL (as outlined in their “Sustainability and Transformation Plans”) that Leicester should move from three to two sites.
No wonder some people believe that by removing intensive care they are effectively closing the General by stealth and without consultation. And it is not just intensive care beds that are being moved: kidney transplant, general surgery, colorectal surgery and hepatobiliary inpatient care are also services which are being removed from the General at the same time.
This is why nothing less than a full public consultation will do.
Whether you are NHS staff, user or just a concerned member of the public, if you want to get actively involved in our campaign, we urge you to come to our next steering committee meeting on Monday October 8, 7.15pm, at the Unite Office, Burleys Way, Leicester, LE13BE.