East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Health, Care and
Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Sub-Committee refer
urgent care plans to Secretary of State for Health
The attempts made by the League of friends, backed by MPs to protest against the closure of our Minor Injuries Unit at the Cottage Hospital by taking the case to a higher level has been supported by the Council .
Councillor Barbara Hall, chair of the Health, Care and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Sub-Committee at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said, “Following today’s meeting the committee has unanimously decided to refer the East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s decision following public consultation on urgent care
services to the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt MP.
While the committee acknowledges that there may be good intentions with what the CCG are proposing, there are serious concerns around such areas as to what had been predetermined prior to the consultation, modelling assumptions and financial planning, the topography of the East Riding and accessibility to services, level of
engagement with Yorkshire Ambulance Service and private sector residential care providers, and the weight given to parts of the consultation feedback.
It was the view of the committee that these proposals approved last month by East Riding CCG pose a risk to health care provision in the East Riding as a whole and we have been left with no alternative but to make this referral.
While this decision has not been taken lightly, this has been taken in the best interests of our residents across the entirety of the East Riding.”
While the case is under review the Unit will remain open. With elections now imminent one would imagine that this will delay the process even further so the Unit is unlikely to be closed any time in the near future.
March 2017 The Fight Continues
The decision this month by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to close our Minor Injuries Unit was roundly condemned by campaigners, councillors and MPs alike but came as a surprise to no-one. It was clear from the outset that the decision had already been made prior to ‘the consultation that never was’. Some expressed their concerns that this might be another step on the slippery slope towards closure of our hospital altogether, despite reassurances from the CCG’s Director Alex Searle that they are “committed to Hornsea Hospital as an important asset.”
Despite the apparent hopelessness of the situation, the Hornsea Cottage Hospital League of Friends have vowed to fight on. With the backing of local MPs they are approaching the ERYC NHS Overview and Scrutiny Committee to make a formal request to the Secretary of State for Health and the Independent Reconfiguration Panel to have our case reviewed .
If this fails maybe it is time for us to consider a ‘Floral Hall style’ takeover of our Cottage Hospital which, as the Mayor Lee Walton pointed out,”is a memorial hospital which the people of Hornsea paid for in blood and money”? Earlier in the month at the HARP AGM, Director of the Floral Hall Richard Carmichael gave an uplifting report on how our only cultural events venue was rescued from the bulldozers and turned from a £100,000 per year loss maker under the East Riding Council into a thriving asset for the community, now into its second year of profit. Thanks to an extremely well run and hugely popular cafe, together with the tremendous efforts of a large team of volunteers it has now improved beyond all recognition from the ramshackle old building that was inherited.
Could the town do a similar job with our hospital? Have we got the people with the fight, energy, know-how and enterprise necessary to take it on and turn it into a well used and valued community asset? If you have ideas for the future of our hospital or would like to support the campaign why not join the League of Friends? They will hold their AGM on Thursday 27th April in Kingfisher Lodge at 7.00 pm when all are invited to attend.
I’m sure that more than one reader will have felt a sense of irony in seeing the news of the decision to close our Minor Injuries Unit alongside the announcement of the grand new development on the South Promenade. The powers that be will say, of course, that the funds for both are from two completely different and totally unrelated pots. Perhaps we should be grateful that the Council have finally decided to locate one of their multi-million pound investments in Hornsea. To be fair to them, as anyone who has applied for grants will know, it does appear to be far easier to obtain funds for infrastructure projects rather than salaries, such as those which are needed to ensure that we don’t have to make a 30 mile round trip for every minor injury that we suffer. I suppose it’s because funders like to see something ‘concrete’ in return for their investment.
I can’t stop myself from thinking, however, that if the town were able to administer its own funds we would use them far more wisely. Rather than having to accept ‘consultations’ about decisions that have already been made by someone far away, we could actually get together and discuss what it is that we really want and need before making any decisions.
Which brings me onto another major news story from this month – the terrorist attack at Westminster (for which our sympathy goes out to all of the victims). It was labelled by the Prime Minister as an attack on the seat of the oldest and greatest democracy in the World. My immediate reaction to this was “Really?” Is one vote every 5 years (which for all non- Conservative voters in constituencies such as ours is totally worthless) to elect someone in London to make most of our major decisions for us really the best example of democracy we are capable of? For me, the day when communities are empowered to take control and manage their own destinies will be the day when we can call our democracy ‘great’. The voluntary devolution of powers from central and regional governments seems a remote prospect, which is why we need to create change from the grass roots upwards. The Floral Hall is a fine example of a community taking control and managing its own assets to great effect – one that we should be shouting about from the roof tops. Can the ‘Floral model’ in which a profit generating enterprise (the cafe) is used to finance a community service (the hall) be adapted to our hospital? How about using parts of the buildings for health tourism where people can come to detox and receive alternative therapies by the sea, to pay for the Minor Injuries Unit and other essential health services?
You may think that I am getting carried away now and that something as preposterous as this can’t be done. If so you may well be right, but ultimately I believe that it will come down to the extent of the passion that exists for keeping our hospital and the drive that we possess to turn the problem into a solution.
P.S. “What’s happening to the old Mission Hall on Southgate?” has been a frequent question whilst on my ‘rounds’ this month. All I can tell you is that it has been bought by a private owner with a view to turning it into studio/flats. Although work began without planning permission the Council have instructed the owners that they must apply for permission before continuing any further.