Sunday, September 23, 2007

Meeting the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP)

City Hospital Supporters have waited a long time for this opportunity. It will happen on Thursday 4th October at City Hospital. We have a representative group meeting the Panel consisting of some members of the community and representatives of the staff non-medical and medical. We will be making a presentation which we hope at some stage after the event to make available via this website.

I know how very worried people are out there. People are concerned that they have not been consulted properly. They find it unbelievable that in these days of a Labour Government seeking a fourth term of office, there are people proposing to move the sick around in ambulances, not for any medical benefit and indeed not for any sensible, rational reason.
Over the last few months I have had the very pleasant experience of meeting many people living close to City Hospital and who have used its services many times over the years. They all speak with great respect and affection for it. They know how important its Emergency Services are to them. They are very glad this Independent Panel is looking at Emergency Surgery, and nobody wants us to abandon the children. We will not do so.

Our fervent hope must be that not only will we get a fair hearing on the 4th October, but that it will lead to City Hospital keeping those beds and continuing to look after its patients properly until that new hospital opens in Grove Lane.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Birmingham Post Appeal to Locals

I have been informed that the Chairman of the Independent Review Panel(IRP) investigating the interim reconfiguration plans affecting City Hospital's A&E services has a letter in Thursday's Birmingham Post inviting people to write in and comment on the Trust’s plans. I don't know if anyone can confirm this in the comments below, while looking at the Birmingham Post edition online I could only find this article which seems to be a similar request but as an article rather than a letter (although letters pages along with editorials do not tend to be included on the online editions).

Obviously the IRP are not from round here, but one would have thought they would have checked which local newspaper the people in the vicinity of City Hospital would be likely to read. The Birmingham Post would almost certainly be the least likely one if anything. Reading the article I am also concerned that they seem most concerned about the transport links between the two sites. Although this is of course an important point that was raised by locals, this was also something the Trust conceded and planned to work with Centro to improve in order to proceed with the plans. To be fair though, they did mention the expertise in gunshot and stab wounds at City, and the fact that patients with these injuries come to the hospital in a variety of ways, which will need to be considered alongside the Trust's proposals. This of course is one of the big arguments against the Trust's proposals, and one which they have not given a satisfactory answer to as yet.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Very Good Meeting.

Last Tuesday 4th September the City Hospital Supporters Group had one of its regular meetings
We learned that we have over 200 members and we are about equally balanced between members of the local community and members of staff.

Members heard from Ken Taylor a detailed report of all the activities since the last meeting at the end of April.

They took careful note that the Trust's Interim Reconfiguration plans have been referred to the Commission for Racial Equality.

They were very pleased at our success in persuading the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee to refer the Emergency Surgery proposals to the Secretary of State and his subsequent referral to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP.)

There was great disappointment that Children's Services had not been referred but everybody felt we must do all that we can to stop City Hospital losing its Children's beds. The members felt that local people would get a much poorer service for their children as a result. We will continue to press for children to be included in the IRP review. Everybody agreed that if it was poor patient care to make adult patients travel on unnecessary ambulance journeys to Sandwell or elsewhere, why is it OK for the children. Have people taken leave of their senses? A referral to the Health Service Ombudsman on the Children's issue could be the next step.

Since last week's meeting we have heard that City Hospital Supporters will be meeting the IRP on the afternoon of the 4th October. We will be fielding a strong team of people from the local community, some patients and doctors and a staff representative.

Members deplored the fact that Postgraduate Centre staff had been cautioned by management for helping the Group to communicate with staff. They also heard about the problems with staff accessing the website from some computers within the Trust. The two questions everybody asked were do we still think we are living in a democracy, and is it right that those paid their wages out of tax payers money can treat fellow citizens in this way?

We heard the good news that we continue to maintain a satisfactory financial position and members were impressed at the value for money they had been getting.

It was agreed to meet again when we have the result of the deliberations of the IRP to decide our next actions.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Access from SWBH computers to this website

When many people at the Trust attempt to log on to this website they get the following message displayed:

"Your organisation's Internet use policy restricts access to this web page at this time."

This does not apply to all the Trust's computers but to very many of them.

We have to ask ourselves the question WHY?

Is this an obscene website or where deliberate untruths are told?

Do we block the opportunity for opposing views to be expressed as comments?

Are employees going to be spending large amounts of time reading the material and wasting Trust time?

If the Trust's employees are denied acces to the website at work will they only have the Trust's view on the important issues of the day?

If the Trust had sound evidence and sound reasoning and full staff support behind its reconfiguration proposals would it want to block access to this website?

Would we even need our own website if the above statement were true?

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Holidays Are Over!

September is here already and the new term is almost upon us. A fateful few weeks lie ahead for City Hospital its patients and staff.

The key event this week is the meeting of:


At this meeting members will be able to hear about all that has been happening with the campaign over the summer. Additionally there will be the opportunity to approve the thrust of our proposed presentation to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel when it visits Birmingham during September and October.

Please do your best to attend this important meeting.