Sunday, July 15, 2007

Responding to some key points.....

Dear Mr. Adler,
Thank you for your letter of the 11th July. The City Hospital Supporters Group ballotted the consultants at City Hospital, the far larger hospital serving a very diverse multi-ethnic population because that is the hospital faced with losing its inpatient Paediatric, Emergency Surgery and Trauma beds. It is the sick children and surgically sick adults needing to stay in City Hospital longer than 24 hours that will have to face the additional ambulance journey to Sandwell with relatives forced to travel further. The ballot showed that those voting (an absolute majority of the members of the Medical Staff Committee)were almost unanimously opposed to these plans. This sends the Trust Board a very clear signal indeed.

Turning to the "very pessimistic view" taken on the new hospital I would choose the word "realistic". The Trust Board are very optimistic portraying the new hospital as very much "a done deal" when it is no such thing. The land has not been bought, the finance has not been secured, very real concerns about the ability of the local health economy to afford another large PFI in the Birmingham conurbation with the Coventry experience only too fresh in our minds, and the new hospital would be the last piece in the jigsaw after establishing all the new builds and services in the community to ensure that the future hospital is not too large. If we apply the legal concept of reasonable doubt, then there has to be reasonable doubt that the new hospital will be achieved until we have some concrete evidence (literally)with it actually under construction. Planning for working together on one site can take place until then, followed by any necessary service modification during the construction but keeping the needs of patients and their families uppermost in our minds.

City Hospital Supporters are delighted that you are going to continue working closesly with the clinicians. A major problem to date is that although there may have been close working it has not influenced the Trust Board's proposals. It is my clear understanding that the Paediatricians at City Hospital and the majority of the Surgeons are opposed to their patients moving to Sandwell Hospital. They have put forward plans for retaining the beds at City that would be perfectly viable in terms of the EWTD on junior doctors hours and with MMC and would not be more expensive than the current proposals. I have checked my facts with key people before writing this letter. It is time that these plans saw the light of day so that all can judge their viability for themselves.

The only aspects of reconfiguration that worry City Hospital Supporters are those affecting inpatient Paediatrics at City and Emergency Surgery and Trauma beds. We believe that over the remaining weeks of summer there is an opportunity for the Trust to modify its position on these services by heeding the results of its own formal consultation, the consultant ballot verdict, the views and evidence of the clinicians directly involved, and the concerns of the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee of Birmingham City Council.

Yours sincerely,

Dr.K.G.Taylor MD.,FRCP
On behalf of the City Hospital Supporters Group

Ms. D. Lee, DOH Secretary of State Private Office
Mr. T. Shaw, Independent Reconfiguration Panel
Councillor Alden, Birmingham Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Ms. C. Bower, West Midlands Strategic Health Authority
Dr. S. Bradbrook, Heart of Birmingham PCT
Mr. R. Bacon, Sandwell PCT
Mrs. S. Davis, SWBH
Mr. R. Kirby, SWBH


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