A Leicester hospital spokesman last week asked campaigners to campaign for his hospital’s investment plans. But campaigners from Save Our NHS Leicestershire have said they are unable to support UHL’s plans to change hospital services unless the plans change.
Mark Wightman, Director of Communications and Strategy for University Hospitals of Leicester was speaking at an engagement event for the public to learn more about local NHS plans. UHL are requesting £367m from the Department of Health and Social Care to reorganise acute hospital services. This investment means closing the General as an acute hospital and reorganising services on the Glenfield and Royal Infirmary sites. However, the campaigners say the remaining hospitals will be too small.
Steve Score, co-chair of SONHSL said:
“We were quite excited to hear about the new proposals but then we realised they are asking for almost £400m of public money to spend on plans which will leave us without the bed numbers and capacity we need. We already don’t have enough beds in the Royal Infirmary, the Glenfield and the Leicester General – in fact, last winter they had to cancel thousands of operations because they did not have enough beds, theatres and intensive care beds.
“We welcome the extra ICU beds but that won’t be enough – we need a hospital which will be big enough for the people of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland – not only when it is built but also in ten, fifteen, event twenty years’ time. If we are spending that amount of public money, we need to know it will create hospital services which are future-proof. The population is going up across the whole of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and yet the number of extra beds is miniscule and would not even be enough for this winter, never mind ten years’ time.”