Venue: Council Chamber Town Hall. View directions
Contact: Jess Bayley Amanda Scarce
Welcome from the Chair and Housekeeping
To receive a welcome from the Chair and an outline of the housekeeping rules.
The Chair welcomed all those present to the meeting. He explained that the meeting would be recorded and that this recording would be available to listen to on the Council’s website in due course.
Apologies and Introductions
To receive apologies for absence and to introduce members of the commission.
There were no apologies for absence.
To receive announcements from the Chair and an explanation of the purpose of the Health Commission.
The Chair explained that the first meeting of the commission had taken place on 12th January 2017. During this meeting representatives of the Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (WAHT) had delivered a presentation outlining the proposed changes to hospital services in the new clinical model. The purpose of the meeting on 14th January was to provide the commission with an opportunity to consult with local residents about their views of these proposed changes.
To invite a representative of the Save the Alex campaign to put forward their views about proposed changes to Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust’s services.
(Update to follow)
The Chair welcomed Mr Neal Stote from the Save the Alex campaign to the meeting. The commission was advised that due to the significant amount of work undertaken by the Save the Alex campaign it had been considered appropriate to offer campaign representatives an opportunity to deliver a 20 minute presentation during the meeting. Prior to the start of this presentation the Chair thanked Mr Stote and the other campaigners on behalf of the commission for his work campaigning to protect hospital services.
Mr Stote then proceeded to deliver a presentation for the consideration of the commission (the presentation is attached in the background papers pack for this meeting). During the delivery of this presentation the following points were highlighted for the consideration of the commissioners:
· There had been a long battle to Save the Alex during which the campaign had received a lot of public support.
· Worcestershire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) had discussed the changes on various occasions and the Committee’s minutes provided useful evidence in terms of the chronology of events.
· The proposals in respect of Maternity and Paediatrics services appeared to be very similar to those which had first been discussed in 2005/08. These had been opposed by the public and rejected at the time.
· In 2012 prior to the launch of the Joint Services Review (JSR) it had seemed that the A&E department at the Alexandra Hospital would be retained as well as Maternity Services.
· The subsequent proposal to move maternity services to Worcester Royal from the Alexandra Hospital had caused outrage; 54,421 people had signed a petition opposing the move and changes to services.
· In the JSR the two options identified, the first for services to be provided by WAHT and the second to work with another provider, had been fully debated by HOSC.
· In June 2013 legal advice to WAHT had led to the rejection of option two. Save the Alex had ensured that this legal advice was placed in the public domain and had found that University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust had not been consulted about this.
· An Independent Review Panel had also considered both options and had found in favour of a modified version of Option One. Concerns were raised that the full facts in respect of Option Two had not been shared with the independent panel.
· The modified Option One had been supported by the independent panel in January 2014, to involve the centralisation of maternity and inpatient paediatrics, an adult A&E department and ante-natal care from the Alexandra Hospital.
· Concerns were raised that the Alexandra Hospital did not now have the specialist staff needed to work in an inpatient Paediatrics Department.
· The current proposals for changes to services implied that the A&E Department at the Alexandra Hospital would be downgraded as patients such as children and young people would be diverted to Worcester Royal Hospital.
· The proposals were reported to represent the clinical view, however, concerns were raised that this followed the resignation of ... view the full minutes text for item 11.
To invite members of the public to speak on the subject of the proposed changes to Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust’s services.
Please note that those residents who registered to speak in advance will be given priority. Each resident will have a maximum of five minutes to speak.
The Chair explained that prior to the meeting two people had registered to speak. They would be given priority in terms of speaking to the commission, though all those present would be invited to share their views once the registered speakers had finished.
The following speakers proceeded to talk to the commission during the meeting:
a) Mr Peter Pinfield
The Health Commission was advised that Mr Pinfield was the Chair of Worcestershire Healthwatch. Healthwatch operated independently to the NHS and provided an opportunity for residents to provide their views about health services. The Chair of Healthwatch had no decision making powers in respect of the future of health services but could help to communicate the views of the public to health bodies. When the CCGs’ consultation ended it was likely that NHS England would contact Worcestershire Healthwatch for feedback about the process that had been followed during the consultation and the outcomes.
The Health Commission provided a useful opportunity to consult with the public about proposed changes to health services. It was important for the Health Commission and the public to be aware of rules in respect of consultation about changes to health services, the rights of the public under the NHS constitution and how the public could influence the outcomes of any such consultation process.
Mr Pinfield urged people to read through the CCGs’ consultation document and to complete copies of their questionnaire. The greater the number of respondents, the more the CCGs would have to take into account the views of residents. When raising concerns and highlighting any suggested flaws in proposed changes there needed to be evidence to support those claims.
b) Mr Anthony Moran
Mr Moran explained that he was a resident of Studley, Warwickshire, who had supported the work of the Save the Alex campaign. Despite acknowledging the opportunity to respond to the CCGs’ questionnaire Mr Moran noted that residents were feeling fairly despondent as these proposals followed submission of a petition that had clearly demonstrated residents’ support for retaining services at the Alexandra Hospital. Furthermore the questionnaire issued by the CCGs did not appear to provide the public with an opportunity to change the outcomes of the consultation.
When the Trust was first established the level of demand for services in 2017 had not been anticipated. References were regularly made in the press to the pressure arising from treating elderly patients and inadequate social care provision. However, demand for health services was also growing to meet the needs of patients of all ages with increasingly complex health needs. Without sufficient financial investment in the NHS this problem with pressure on services would continue to escalate.
WAHT had received a lot of criticism for the way the review of services had been handled and the current proposals. However, Mr Moran noted that developments at the local level were influenced by decisions at the national level. Residents had been urged to convey their concerns to the local MP; Mr Moran suggested that residents needed ... view the full minutes text for item 12.