Tuesday, October 30, 2007

An Absolute Disgrace!

Unless a miracle happens a grave injustice will be done on the 5th November when 18 children's beds currently at City Hospital in Birmingham are moved to Sandwell Hospital in West Bromwich.

Up to 1800 children go through these beds in a year that is between 4 and 5 children a day. These children are from one of the poorest and most deprived districts in the UK. Many of these children are from the ethnic minorities. The consequence of this change of location of the beds is that sick children will face an additional and unnecessary ambulance journey putting the young patients at increased risk, and their parents to increased inconvenience.

This is not happening like much in the health service for any sensible reason that can be justified. Indeed the children's doctors at City Hospital have produced a workable plan that would enable the beds to remain at City, meet all requirements and save the Trust managing the two hospitals about half a million pounds per year.

During the consultation the people were asked to vote on the changes to children's services. They did so and rejected the proposals by a sizeable majority.

Emergency Surgical patients also faced losing their beds at City Hospital and still do. However the Birmingham Health Scrutiny Committee decided they were very unhappy about this aspect of the proposal and so referred it to the Secretary of State for Health who in turn referred it to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel. They will not be presenting their report and recommendation until the 30th November.

Why the Birmingham Health Scrutiny Committee were worried about the surgical patients and not the children God only knows.

Why is the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust rushing ahead to move the children without waiting for the outcome of the Independent Panel? The Trust has been asked by one of the city's MPs to hold off the move until the Panel reports. The outcome of that request is still awaited.

If the Trust do not do so and proceed with the move of the children and the Independent Panel decide the Emergency Surgical beds should remain at City, we will be in the ludicrous situation that a move is considered unsuitable for adults but OK for children!

At present the outlook for the children of Birmingham that will be affected looks bleak. If this thoroughly unnecessary change in emergency service provision goes ahead a lot of people should not rest easy with their consciences. Before it is too late they must ask the question what could I do to prevent this bad thing happening to these children. This could apply to the Trust management,the Heart of Birmingham Primary Care Trust, the Strategic Health Authority, the Birmingham Health Scrutiny Committee, the Department of Health, the Birmingham MPs, Birmingham Councillors and the media.

November the 5th is the 400+ anniversary of a tragic event in British history. Guy Fawkes and fellow conspirators plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament. It was a Catholic plot against a government ruled over by the Protestant King James 1. It was one of the milestones of this country's evolution to a modern democracy.

How far have we come and how democratic are we? We are just about to allow some children in the city to have an inferior quality of care forced upon them. The local population voted against it. 97% of the consultants at City Hospital voted against it.
Why are they proceeding with it?

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