Letter sent to the Leicester Mercury on Tuesday September 29, 2020:
The public consultation to reorganise Leicester’s hospitals began on Monday.
These plans include, amongst other things, closing the Leicester General Hospital as an acute hospital and St Mary’s Birthing Unit in Melton; concentrating maternity services onto the Leicester Royal Infirmary; and providing a modest increase in the number of beds.-
We are extremely concerned that the Trust’s plans are out of date. In their 1,700 page business case document they make almost no mention of COVID. We need flexibility in our hospital services to deal with a second wave — selling off a large portion of NHS land does not do this.
These plans are worth £450million. We welcome this money after years of underfunding, but it could be a long time before we get capital investment again so getting it right this time is essential. The public should ask whether a few dozen extra beds will be adequate for an ageing and growing population, especially when our hospitals face what used to be called ‘Black Alerts’ (full to capacity) every winter. The least we can expect for £450m of public money are hospitals that are big enough.
We are also deeply concerned about proposals which offer only one guaranteed site for childbirth (except for home births). We think it is potentially dangerous to put all births on the site of the Royal Infirmary – a site frequently gridlocked with traffic.
For now, we are asking supporters and the wider public to delay filling in the consultation documents. The consultation will last 12 weeks. Use this time to read some of the documents, engage with the debate, hear what the Trust has to say as well as campaigners.
The campaign to challenge the Trust’s plans has been ongoing for many years, but now they have the funding and the public consultation has started, we have limited time.
Save Our NHS Leicestershire has already received some good coverage on BBC Radio Leicester’s Breakfast show and a short clip on this evening BBC East Midlands. Follow the link for the former here: shorturl.at/rPUV0
Get in touch with us if you want to get involved: firstname.lastname@example.org or 07896 841 902