Save Our NHS Leicestershire held the last of a series of online public meetings by Zoom on Tuesday 15 December. The difference this time was that we invited representatives of local NHS bosses to come to hear our concerns about the hospital reorganisation plans. The discussion was urgent because the deadline for the consultation plans is 21 December (today).
Around 70 attended and, apart from the local NHS representatives, expressed unhappiness about a number of aspects of these plans, despite everyone welcoming the investment in new buildings.
Worries articulated included the fact that maternity for the whole of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland could potentially be concentrated in one place at the Leicester Royal Infirmary. There was anger at the plan to close St Mary’s Birthing Centre in Melton and concerns about the long-term viability of the proposal for a one-year trial of a midwife led unit at the site of what is currently General Hospital. The targets imposed for that unit raised strong doubts about whether it will be retained after a year.
The plans also involve the closure of the Leicester General Hospital as an acute hospital and do not include long term plans to provide enough beds and hospital capacity for the future.
The current ‘Opel 4′ high alert in Leicester’s hospitals, meaning they are “unable to deliver comprehensive care”, indicates that the usual winter crisis is combining with the new spike in Covid and we don’t have the capacity to deal with it.
We need future plans to have enough capacity to cope with the growing population, winter surges, as well a potential future pandemics.
The local hospital Trust expects future pressure to be relieved by increased treatment of patients in the community but people at the meeting pointed out that there are no details of how this is to be done or how it would be financed.
Many more points of concern were raised at the meeting which we as campaigners felt were not answered by NHS bosses.
The deadline for the consultation is today – 21 December. Despite the fact that most people have not received the trusts brochure and questionnaire we urge everyone to go online to respond today!
Please look at our guide to the consultation questionnaire at: http://saveournhsleicestershire.org/2020/11/24/leicester-general-and-st-marys-birth-centre-under-threat-heres-our-guide-to-filling-in-the-consultation-questionnaire/ and you can access the consultation questionnaire here: https://nhs.researchfeedback.net/s.asp?k=160035362231