Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Good Medical Staff Committee Meeting

The senior medical staff of City Hospital met last night. The subject of the meeting was the Trust's Interim Reconfiguration proposals. It was the plan for Inpatient Paediatric beds and Emergency Surgery beds moving to Sandwell that was under the spotlight. Some very clear messages emerged from that meeting without dissent:

If a patient is brought to hospital as an emergency and they need to remain in hospital, it is not good medical care for them to be moved to another hospital for a non-medical reason. The transfer would put the patient at an increased and unnecessary risk.

If the Trust's plans were to go ahead this would apply to both the children acutely ill needing inpatient care, and surgically ill adults at City Hospital. This would affect at least 1000 children a year and this is a conservative estimate. A more realistic figure was thought to be 1800 children.

The doctors went on to hear of an excellent plan that would keep inpatient Children's Services on both sites, create greater equity in staffing between the two sites and save the Trust £500,000 annually. Sadly the Trust has not been prepared to listen to this plan to date. Common sense would surely dictate that they cannot afford not to look at it very carefully. It sounds like a win win deal!

A very helpful proposal was made by one of the senior doctors that had widespread support. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health should be asked to review the Trust's plan on Paediatrics together with the one put forward by the City Hospital Paediatricians.

So all in all a good and constructive meeting. The senior doctors have been consistent in their view. In the recent ballot 97% of those voting rejected the loss of the inpatient beds in Paediatrics and Emergency Surgery at City Hospital. They have now expressed that concern within the Medical Staff Committee at City and spelt out the principal reason for that concern. It is an issue of risk to the patient as a result of an unnecessary transfer.

There was a representative of management at the meeting who wheeled out the usual Trust reasons for making the changes: the EWTD for junior doctors hours, Modernising Medical Careers, working in larger groups, recruitment and retention. However the consultants were having none of it and made it clear that these were not valid reasons for the form of reconfiguration proposed.

It became very clear during the meeting that the City Hospital doctors are a thoughtful bunch who wish to be engaged by the management in planning the future. They have the desire and the ability to sort out the Trust's future plans. Yes they need to get together with their Sandwell colleagues, but there has to be acceptance of preservation of good patient care on both hospital sites until this new hospital opens. The Trust's plans have put City Hospital patients in jeopardy not Sandwell's. Quite rightly City Hospital doctors must stand up for their patients and do all in their power to ensure that patient care is not threatened. We would expect no less of Sandwell doctors for their patients.

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