Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Surgery Plans Referred to Secretary of State

Councillor Alden and the Birmingham Council Health Scrutiny Committee have given their judgement on the Trust’s proposals for Emergency Surgery and Trauma. It is a resounding rejection in no uncertain terms. The case for the people local to City Hospital continuing to have access to the same level of emergency care without having to face additional ambulance journeys while they wait for a new hospital has been upheld, and quite rightly so. Why should those with the greatest health care need have to put up with the worst service?

Now it’s over to the Secretary of State for Health. We must all hope and pray that Mrs. Hewitt convenes the Independent Reconfiguration Panel which she is empowered to do. We can then present our evidence to this Panel which is increasing in quality and quantity by the day. Of course there is always the possibility that the Trust might decide to “review the situation” and choose an option that preserves the emergency services for the people. Wouldn’t that be the most sensible way forward for all concerned? Let’s get on and make 2010 happen as soon as possible. Surely that would be best for everyone!

Ken Taylor, City Hospital Supporters Group, 29/05/2007

Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Birmingham City Council
The Council House
Victoria Square
Birmingham B1 1BB
Tel: 0121 464 7457
Fax: 0121 303 4555
E-mail: deirdre.alden@birmingham.gov.uk

Right Honourable Patricia Hewitt MP
Secretary of State
Department of Health
Richmond House
79 Whitehall
London SW1A 2NS


(Please quote in your reply)

Dear Minister

Referral of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust Shaping Hospital Services for the Future Consultation

I write to inform you that the Birmingham City Council Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee is referring the decision by Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust’s proposals to consolidate all of the Trusts emergency surgery provision at its Sandwell hospital site. This referral is made under Section 4(7) of The Local Authority (Overview and Scrutiny Committees Health Scrutiny Functions) Regulations 2002.

The Committee feels that the part of the Shaping Hospital Services for the Future Consultation relating to the provision of Emergency Surgery will result in a reduction of service for the people of Birmingham and is not premised on clinical need. In evidence provided to Birmingham and Sandwell Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee the Trust stated that currently the greatest need for emergency surgery is located on the City Hospital site. The Committee does not believe that the decision to consolidate emergency surgery on the Sandwell Hospital site has been taken with patient safety as the prime concern.

The consultation process carried out by the Trust clearly demonstrates that the proposals for surgery set out in the consultation document were opposed by the majority of respondents. The Committee does not believe that the twenty four hour surgical assessment unit announced by the Trust as a result of the consultation is a sufficient variance of the original proposal and will still result in a substantial diminution of service for one of the most deprived areas of Birmingham.

In addition the Committee believes that Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospital NHS Trust have not demonstrated a clear case as to why emergency surgery could not instead be consolidated on the City Hospital site. We feel this option should now be considered as a matter of urgency in order to safeguard the welfare of Birmingham patients. The Committee also believes that any decision taken by the Trust should be based on demographic and geographic indicators.

The Committee is extremely concerned that the decision to proceed with the proposals is not in the interest of patients in Birmingham and is contrary to the views expressed in the consultation process. The Birmingham City Council Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee requests that the decision is referred to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel as soon as possible.

I look forward to your response in this matter.

Yours sincerely

Councillor Deirdre Alden
Chairman of Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee

CC Cynthia Bower - Chief Executive – NHS West Midlands
CC John Adler - Chief Executive - Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals TrustCC Tony Shaw – Chief Executive – Independent Reconfiguration Panel

NB: A printable version of this document is available at the following address:


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