Monday, October 21, 2013

Holly Ward redecoration is a red herring

Neil Zammett's letter sent to Ilford Recorder today.

Dear Sir,
Further to Averil Dongworth’s letter I would like to point out that redecoration is a red herring and that whether it is Holly or another ward, one will be closing.  Filling it with other services just confuses the issue further-we will still have one less ward to support acute admissions via A&E.
Around 150 acute beds have now been closed at Queen’s and King George over the last three years or put to other uses.  During this time the performance of A&E has consistently declined and is now at an all time low allowing for seasonal factors.
At the end of August this year Lord Howe, a health minister, wrote to the Council to say that “It remains the case that A&E services at BHRUT must demonstrate further improvements before the planned changes, which were first proposed under the Health for North East London reconfiguration programme can take place.”
Beds are not the only determinant of performance of course but it very hard to see how closures on this scale are consistent with the Minister’s statement, given the decline in A&E performance.
Now that the Independent Clinical Review has established that medical staffing is not a short term safety issue what local campaigners want is a clear plan for the future.  Indeed this is one of the main recommendations of the Review’s report.
The challenge for Sir Peter Dixon and his Board is to be open about their long term finances and ward closures and not to”paper over the cracks”.
Yours sincerely,

Neil Zammett

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