The following letter has been sent to candidates standing in the May 2 Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland council elections, as well as the mayoral candidates in Leicester City:
To election candidate/agent
Save Our NHS Leicestershire is asking all local election candidates in Leicester and Leicestershire to add their name to a list of signatures to the following open letter. We will publicise the results before election day 2 May 2019. Please add your name to the list by emailing us back with your name, ward, and party. The letter is to the chairman of University Hospitals of Leicester
We have endeavoured to find contact details for as many council candidates as possible, but not all are publicly available – particularly those who are not already councillors. That said, if you could circulate this open letter within your respective organisations it will help to ensure that as many candidates as possible have the chance to read it.
If you are a candidate in the local elections and you have not received this letter but want to pledge your support, please email your name, ward, and party to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Save Our NHS Leicestershire steering committee
University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) is planning to reorganise acute hospital services in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland via a project for which it is seeking capital investment from the Department of Health of around £370m. The plans involve closing the General Hospital as an acute hospital and consolidating acute services onto two sites – the Royal Infirmary and the Glenfield. A large amount of land especially at the General Hospital site will then be sold for other use.
Councillors have a key role to play in the NHS locally through the Health and Wellbeing Board and local scrutiny committees. As local election candidates we have concerns about these plans.
- Virtually no detail about the plans has been put into the public domain and made available for public scrutiny. UHL’s detailed pre-consultation business case for reorganising acute services has been kept secret. Opportunities for meaningful change to plans through later formal public consultation will be limited.
- UHL’s new plans do not include an increase in the number of beds, despite ongoing problems with capacity in local hospitals. UHL’s spokesman has said the reconfigured hospital facilities will have 2,048 beds. In May 2018, UHL had 2,045 beds. Even though current bed numbers are closer to 2,000, this represents no real increase to address (a) the current capacity constraints and (b) future capacity needs arising from an ageing population, a growing population and rising need.
- The local NHS believes an expansion in community services and different pathways of care will offset rising need for hospital care. However, community services are under review and these plans have not yet been written while the previous plans (the Sustainability and Transformation Plan) failed in large part because local NHS leaders were excessively optimistic in what they believed their reorganised services could achieve; as a result, they failed to get ‘the sums to add up’.
- Once funding has been agreed in principle for a local hospital plan by the Department of Health, there is a danger it will lock the people of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland into an inadequate facility for the next twenty years with no hope of large-scale government funding from future government during this period to address the shortage of hospital services. So it is important to get it right now.
- Local MPs, councillors and pubic need to know what the details of the hospital plan are and what the details of the wider NHS plans for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are before UHL seeks approval of the pre-consultation business case. It is not clear to us why the detailed plans are being withheld from us and form the public when they are needed for informed engagement.
Signatures so far:
Mags Lewis – Castle Ward and Mayoral candidate
Robert Ball – Spinney Hills
Andy Haynes – Syston East
Geoff Forse – Fosse
Neil McDermott – Saffron
Pam Bellinger – Humberstone and Hamilton
Sarah Read – Eyres Monsell
Hannah Wakley – North Evington
Mary Savigar – Green, Stoneygate
Ursula Bilson- Green, Evington
Dave Dixey – Knighton
Jill Fisher – Castle
Patrick Kitterick – Castle
Rick Middleton – Barwell
Andrew Thomas – Great Bowden & Arden
Stephan Gee -Thurncourt
Sue Waddington – Fosse
David Wenn – Bosworth
Geoff Whittle – Knighton
Lindsay Broadwell – Western
Jean Khote – North Evington
Jewel Miah – Lemyngton Ward (Loughborough)
Lewis James Ashurst – Nanpantan Ward (Loughborough)
Paul Boldrin – Garendon
Kaisra Khan – Sileby
Emma Ward – Dishley and Hathern (Charnwood)
Barbara Johnson – Logan Ward, Market Harborough
Dominic Fosker – Logan Ward, Market Harborough
Steve Score – Aylestone and Mayoral candidate
Caroline Vincent – Evington
Satinder Toor – Evington
Franklin O’Riordan – Stoneygate
Sofia Wiking – Knighton
Pete Bisson – Saffron
Darren Baxter – Thurncourt
Tessa Warrington – Braunstone Park and Rowley Fields
Alex Morgan – Beaumont Leys
Andrew Walton – Spinney Hills