As reported to the Save Our NHS Hull and East Yorkshire group.
The acute NHS Trust in Hull and East Yorkshire is faced with £99m cuts between 2012 and 2015. One of the first services to be targeted was Cardiology: Ward 6 at Castle Hill Hospital was closed and the staff re-deployed across the Trust’s hospitals (Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital, Cottingham).
We were informed that these measures would improve the Cardiology services to the public, that it would lead to a more focused provision as the other Cardiology wards were in the same locality at the New Cardiology Build (NCB), Castle Hill Hospital. This has not proved to be the case and we have direct evidence that patients who should receive beds in the NCB are in fact dispersed, being located in the various non-speciality wards across both hospitals. Those unlucky enough to be given a bed on a ward at Hull Royal Infirmary are several miles away from the Cardiology doctors and nurses who are trained to treat them. How can the NHS Trust defend this outcome? The decision was taken without consulting lead medical staff, and the outcomes for patients will presumably be worse. How could it be a better service when medical staff are faced with patients who may or may not have heart failure and they do not have the specialist training to find out or treat them if they do have heart failure? Will the NHS Trust be auditing this? It is the case that failing to treat early stage heart failure during a hospital admission will lead to an increased likelihood that the patient will be re-admitted with crushing heart failure and fluid congestion. This would be avoided – along with the unnecessary suffering for patients and their families, and the increased expense (£20000+ per hospital stay) – if early signs are identified and treated.
Cuts are cuts – ideological in nature because leading economists in the UK have said, and reports have appeared in press including the Daily Telegraph – that they are not actually necessary. The reverse is the case – they are driving us deeper in to recession and poverty. The austerity measures have led to a poorer service for the public in areas where services are already stretched. The austerity cuts are being used, we claim, to run down public services by starving them of funding so that the government can claim that they are failing and need privatising. In the case of schools, they are turned into academies.
We believe that that the government is making irreversible changes to the NHS (and other publically funded services) that are ideological and have nothing to to with creating a better NHS. They believe that there is profit to be made that will eventually lead to an insurance led health service where profit comes first, health a poor second.
We need to join together in our campaign to make the public aware of what is happening to their health service before it is too late.
@saveournhshull Public meeting, Ruscadors, Hull March 27, 7pm.