Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Reasons for choice of Sandwell as Emergency Surgical site.

A further attachment with the letter on the Trust's Reconfiguration Plans:

Both City and Sandwell Hospitals are busy, large general hospitals serving deprived and diverse inner-city communities. The reasons for choosing Sandwell Hospital as the main emergency surgical site and City Hospital as the main elective surgical site were:
*The Trust already has a number of elective surgical specialties concentrated at City including ENT, Gynae-Oncology (the Trust is the tertiary centre for the Pan-Birmingham Network) and Ophthalmology.

*The Trust's elective surgical site requires greater theatre capacity than the emergency site. This level of capacity is available at City Hospital (in part due to six new theatres in the Birmingham Treatment Centre) but is not available within current facilities at Sandwell Hospital. Unless absolutely unavoidable investment in new theatres at Sandwell could not be justified in the context of the plans for a new acute hospital.

*Removing emergency surgery from Sandwell in addition to the elective surgical services already based at City and other services such as Urology which the Trust intends to concentrate alongside Gynae-Oncology would have resulted in a significant reduction in the general surgical service at Sandwell that would over time have become unsustainable.

*There are other A&E Departments in Birmingham (including at UHB and Heart of England NHS Foundation Trusts) providing possible alternatives for patients if necessary (although the Trust has designed its plans to minimise the risk of significant catchment loss.)

These reasons have been explained to the Overview and Scrutiny Committees and other key stakeholders as part of the pre-consultation and consultation process.

Some comments on this are required.
City Hospital Supporters feel very strongly that the communities served by both hospitals deserve at the very least fully supported Emergency Services at BOTH hospitals. The Trust's plans seem all about making elective surgery paramount at the expense of Emergency work at City Hospital. City Hospital is 1100 beds to Sandwell's 400. City sees far more emergencies and in particular far more surgical and trauma emergencies. Why are we compromising this excellent emergency service to fulfil some grand elective design ahead of the new hospital being completed?

Perhaps the most incredible statement of all time is for our Trust Board to be reminding the world that there are other A&E Departments in Birmingham such as UHB and Heart of England. Who are these people working for? Who are they representing? The Chair of the Trust made the same comment on the Politics Show on TV back in May. Can anybody have confidence in a Trust Board identifying other hospitals for its patients as part of its grand plan for the future?

The people of Birmingham and Sandwell need a management team that is standing up for their interests and providing at the very least good emergency services on both sites until they have produced the new hospital. We may be called City Hospital Supporters because that is the hospital that is under attack, but we would not wish to see Sandwell patients lose any of their emergency services. This ethos was enshrined in the letter from the Department of Health that approved the formation of the Trust with the merging of the two hospitals.

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