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Save Our NHS Leicestershire

Leicester NHS bosses “disappointed” after bizarre offer to takeover campaign meeting refused

By Save Our NHS Leicestershire
November 15, 2020

Save Our NHS Leicestershire has been holding a series of online public meetings during the consutation to discuss the local NHS Trust’s £450million plans to reorganise hospital services in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

Our first meeting on Monday evening was a huge success, with close to 40 people in attendance and a very high level of participation in the discussion.

People were very angry about plans to close Leicester General Hospital and St Mary’s Birth Centre, but also at the fact that the consultation is happening in the middle of a pandemic, with extreme social restrictions pushing almost all social interaction online.

But the audience at our meeting were not the only unhappy ones. Early in the afternoon, Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), who are jointly running the consultation with other CCGs in the region, Tweeted their “disappointment” that their offer to speak at the meeting was turned down:

“We’re disappointed our offer for the local NHS to attend these events, to answer questions or address concerns, has been refused by the organisers. Find accurate information at betterhospitalsleicester.nhs.uk with details of the official events to find out more and have your say.”

As with all public meetings, members of the CCG or the local Trust were free to attend. And given that part of their job at the moment is to consult the public about their plans, you would probably expect them to.

But Leicester City CCG was apparently not interested in attending the meeting unless they could practically run it, asking to attend the meeting to present proposals and answer questions.

More than that, Leicester NHS bosses only approached the campaign three days before the meeting, even though the meeting had been organised and publicly advertised for more than a month!

Save Our NHS Leicestershire responded:

“We’re astounded that you would raise this given that you only offered to speak at tonight’s meeting as late as 3 days ago. We’re also astounded that you would play this card when you are the ones actually running the public consultation!

“You have plenty of meetings where all the speakers are selling your plans to the public. You enjoy lots of favourable press coverage. If you’re concerned that you might not be reaching the public, might we suggest that you don’t hold a consultation in the middle of a pandemic.

“We do not expect to be on the panel at your meetings, although we attend them to raise our points. Likewise you are most welcome to attend our meetings and raise your points – but why would you assume that you should be allowed to lead our meetings?

“We are entitled to a space in which we can make our arguments to the public. The implication that our arguments are inaccurate is unfounded and, honestly, cheapens both yourselves and the consultation.”

We have heard from others who are attending events run by the NHS during the consultation that these events are very tightly controlled. Why are they exercising this tight control and why are they trying to influence the way others run their meetings?

We want to hear what you think. Should local NHS bosses be running a public consultation in the middle of a pandemic? What do you think about the planned closure of Leicester General Hospital as an acute hospital and St Mary’s Birth Centre?

Come along to our next online meeting on Saturday November 21 at 2pm. Register here for free: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/more-covid-waves-are-coming-why-is-leicester-general-hospital-being-closed-tickets-126406307669

If you can’t make it, we will also be holding another online public meeting on Monday November 30. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/more-covid-waves-are-coming-why-is-leicester-general-hospital-being-closed-tickets-129048029129