Newcastle’s MP urges NHS to secure a full future for Bradwell Community Hospital
Newcastle’s MP Paul Farrelly has urged local NHS chiefs to commit to
providing a full range of health services at Bradwell, including re-opening
wards to rehabilitate patients after they leave the area’s main Royal Stoke
In a letter to the Chief Executive of Staffordshire’s Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Marcus Warnes, he argues that Bradwell has played an invaluable role in easing the pressure in times of winter and other seasonal crises at the Royal Stoke - one which should continue there, alongside providing other front-line services to help local GPs’ surgeries.
The letter, which can be seen here, is Mr Farrelly’s response to the CCGs’ three months’ long consultation over the future of local health services, which closed at the weekend.
It takes into account views expressed by constituents, NHS staff, health campaigners and local groups, including the North Staffs Pensioners Convention.
‘Bradwell’s proximity to the Royal Stoke makes it a natural candidate for bed-based, post-acute care, before patients return home, and it has more capacity than other options to be the ‘hub’ for a wider range of health services for people in the Newcastle area,’ he said.
The CCGs’ consultation proposes four such ‘Hubs’ in North Staffordshire in the future – in Stoke North, Stoke South and Leek, as well as Newcastle - and only using the Haywood Hospital between Burslem and Tunstall, as well as care homes, for community care beds.
Under the plans, the maximum number of beds would be half the 264 previously commissioned, before the CCGs controversially closed all the wards at Bradwell, Leek, Cheadle and Longton community hospitals over the past three years.
In his response, despite improvements in so-called ‘bed-blocking’ at the Royal Stoke, Mr Farrelly questions the adequacy of having just 132 community beds in the future – 77 of which would be at the Haywood – and the quality of provision at certain local care homes.
Broadly agreeing with the plans for four local NHS Hubs, Newcastle’s MP also expresses concern about the investment needed to make them a reality, as well as recruiting and retaining the staff needed, given the Government’s woeful record of underfunding health and social care in North Staffordshire.
‘Never, in my 18 years as an MP, have the financial – and staffing – problems of our local NHS and social services been so acute as now. It is crucial that the right decisions are reached after this consultation, and for the right reasons, with patient care paramount,’ he said. .
‘Re-admission rates from home under the new Discharge To Assess (D2A) system remain high, double that from dedicated NHS bed-based care. Moreover, despite their assurances, the CCGs continue to commission places at care homes ‘Requiring Improvement’’.
Paul chaired the North Staffs Care For All campaign, which succeeded in keeping Bradwell hospital open back in 2000. Recently he has renewed the fight, with Bradwell nurses Janet Smith and Irene Sutton, veteran NHS campaigner Ian Syme and the Pensioners Convention - and local Councillor Allison Gardner, who chairs the Save Bradwell Hospital Campaign.