“Why are Poole’s Conservative councillors not joining with Dorset councillors in referring the CCG’s clinical services review to the Secretary of State for independent review?
Cllr Marion Pope, an independent member of the Poole People and Independent Group on Poole Council and the group’s representative on the Council’s People (Health & Social Care) Overview & Scrutiny Committee has been pushing for that committee to scrutinize and make a risk assessment of the likely impact of the hospital reorganisation on Poole’s residents, but she was not supported by its majority Conservative membership.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the report on which the reorganisation was based and the decision to move A&E from Poole Hospital to Royal Bournemouth Hospital was flawed for the following reasons:
· RBH is poorly located for people living in Poole and the Purbecks and already suffers from major congestion issues. Ambulances from central Poole may be able to blue light in adequate time to RBH but the Ambulance Service cannot cope with current demand. It is now taking two hours to get to some casualties. Many people will therefore be forced to try to get to A&E by private car or taxi. Given Bournemouth is the most congested town in the country, casualties will inevitably experience delays in getting vital treatment. Most women in labour will need to struggle across the conurbation as the low risk unit is also moving to RBH.
· Many services currently delivered in Poole are now slated to transfer to RBH because a “major trauma centre needs these things on tap”. Even Radiotherapy, where Poole has been the specialist site, and much of the care is planned. The NHS is now talking about placing the next generation of radiotherapy machines at RBH because occasionally someone will present in A&E and need them urgently.
· From the perspective of serving the whole county, an in respect of sustainable travel, the choice of RBH is complete nonsense. Poole is close to the centre of a focus of population, plus central to the county and close to the bus and rail station, RBH is at the edge of the county, suiting those with access to a car, though they will face massive queues to get there and leave. It seems that only the savings to the NHS were counted, passing costs and inconvenience onto the public.
· The impact on staff has been underestimated. The major upheaval will not only cause many employees to endure more difficult journeys to work, it is damaging morale.
Cllr Mark Howell, Leader of Poole People, says: “The CCG has gone down a rabbit hole and lost perspective. The decision to move the A&E department to the eastern edge of Bournemouth was largely based on a one-off £40 million difference in the two competing proposals, which is a relatively small amount given the upheaval that will be involved and the inconvenience and increased dangers that users of the service from Poole and the Purbecks will face over many years. Poole councillors should be doing everything they can to stop this. It is not too late to act.”