Westminster Memorial Hospital Working Group reports..

on Wednesday, 22 February 2017. Posted in News

Shaftesbury Town Council
Westminster Memorial Hospital Working Group

15th February 2017
Public Meeting with Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group

At the invitation of the Working Group, Members of the CCG met representatives of the community from around Shaftesbury, Gillingham and the villages and parishes from within the Dorset boundaries and  Wiltshire.

They were Tim Goodson, The Chief Executive, Dr Karen Kirkham, Deputy Director CCG, Dr Simone Yule,  Sally Sandcraft,  Deputy Director, Review, Design & Delivery  Sally O’Donnell DCCG and from Dorset County Council, Social Services, Helen Coombes Interim Director Adult and Community Services. 

Over 150 people attended in order to hear further from the Chief Officer and his team as the Public Consultation draws to an end.

The meeting was opened by the Mayor of Shaftesbury, Cllr John Lewer and the proceedings were then Chaired by Cllr Anthony Austin, Chair of the Working Group.

The mood of the gathering ranged from those deeply concerned about the future of NHS services in the community, to those who felt anger and frustration as they saw the proposals as ill-thought out, flawed and unsustainable.

Shaftesbury GP Dr Simone Yule in her presentation, covered all the general points but also spoke about the way she hoped GP services would change. Essentially and traditionally, GP’s have been reactive in their practices. It is essential that the major change in approach is to be proactive: to provide services that prevent disease and illnesses, that are tailored more and more to the needs of each patient and are anticipative.

To this end, the proposed expansion of the hospital to include a greater range of support for a wide range of services, is a step forward. The matter of the 16 beds; her view is that there must be clinical beds in the community and eventually those beds might be set in other facilities in Shaftesbury and Gillingham. The time scale was in the future, with a 5 year Plan to be put in place.

The Chief Executive Tim Goodson was asked whether it was true that there were already plans to sell the Hospital. His answer was an unequivocal No.

There was a substantial contribution from Helen Coombes. So far in the Consultation there has been no input about the link between Social and Health care. Helen was blunt about the amount to be done to bridge the gap between the present services and the proposed integration. Funding is the major issue. Recruitment of Staff is also a problem. The conjunction of the services has yet to be worked out, although integrated services are being piloted elsewhere in Dorset.

There were many questions and the theme was almost universal. The need for reassurance on all the issues that surround the provision of healthcare for those in the upper age range; why were the CCG proposing closing beds when the predicted increase in population in the area made is so obvious that this was an unsustainable proposal.

To many it looked as though the CCG was basing its proposals for the Westminster solely on the populations of Gillingham and Shaftesbury, using historical data from the Office of National Statistics. South Wiltshire appeared ignored; Yet people from the areas around Shaftesbury contributed significantly to the use of the services. There was considerable agitation about these issues and the replies from the panel were treated with considerable scepticism.

Dr Andrew Murrison, MP for South Wiltshire, who was present, addressed the panel and was unequivocal in his comments: the Consultation is flawed. Not including the South Wilts community was unacceptable. The Document was misleading. The Public Consultation should be given a full further month. Dorset is not an island and should ignore County Boundaries when needed.  Dr Murrison requested that the consultation period be extended.

The Mayor of Shaftesbury thanked all for attending and closed the meeting.

The Chief Executive for the CCG provided written comments following the meeting and they are provided below:

In relation to the concerns raised around the consultation in South Wiltshire I can provide the following summary.  I have replied to Dr Andrew Murrison MP request at the meeting to this effect.

Our detailed plan for public engagement during our three month public consultation was designed to be proportionate to the population size in all the areas likely to be affected by our proposals, including areas outside of Dorset in Wiltshire, Hampshire, Devon and Somerset.  To provide some context, throughout 2015/16, 198 inpatients were treated at the WMH, and of these, 7 were registered with GP practices that are not located in the county of Dorset.  To ensure residents are aware of the proposed changes and have an opportunity to provide their feedback, we have worked closely with colleagues in these areas. In Wiltshire, this includes:

  • NHS Wiltshire CCG – who have distributed information to and sought to involve Wiltshire patient groups and local GP surgeries, including in Mere, Tisbury, Hindon and Silton in Gillingham. They have also promoted the consultation via social media channels.
  • GP surgeries – those mentioned above were offered consultation documents for their patients.
  • Healthwatch Wiltshire – who have distributed information to their area contacts and promoted the consultation via their website and social media channels.
  • Wiltshire Council South West Communities Engagement Manager – who has distributed information to each of the area boards made up of parish councillors and other community group managers.
  • Salisbury District Hospital Communications Department – which is promoting the Clinical Services Review (CSR) via their website and social media channels.
  • Mere Town Council – who have received copies of our consultation document and information.

In addition, we have promoted the CSR and public events through paid advertising on Facebook which reaches areas around the Dorset/Wiltshire border and extends as far as Warminster.

We have advertised, run a regular health column, written a letter to the editor and reported news features in the Blackmore Vale Newspaper which is distributed in Wiltshire.

Dr Simone Yule, has also been interviewed about the proposals on the local radio station, BBC Wiltshire.

We have two CSR pop-up events arranged in Tisbury (Tuesday 21 February) and Mere (Thursday 23 February) which will be advertised widely. These will help to raise awareness of the proposals and give local people an opportunity to collect a consultation document. Please feel free to share the attachments on these events.

Residents from areas in Wiltshire who may be affected by the proposals are also included in the randomised residential telephone interviews that are currently taking place by Opinion Research Services (ORS), an independent research company who are analysing all questionnaires and feedback received during the public consultation.

ORS have already received completed consultation responses from Wiltshire residents, local groups and parish councils (including Fonthill and Gifford Parish Council) which indicate that the information is reaching the local population, allowing them to take part in the public consultation.

It is also worth noting that all GP surgeries and hospitals in Dorset received copies of the consultation document for their patients. Wiltshire residents who use these services have been able to collect copies from these locations since the start of the public consultation.

At the invitation of Dr Richard Tippins (former mayor of Shaftesbury), we attended two public meetings in Shaftesbury where we presented on the CSR and took questions from the audience. As you know we attended the meeting on Wednesday to discuss the CSR. All of these meetings have been well attended and have included Wiltshire residents, councillors and local South West Wiltshire MP, Dr Andrew Murrison.

We also held a CSR public drop-in event in Shaftesbury on 10 January and seven CSR pop-up events in the North Dorset area where clinicians and CCG staff have spoken with local people about the proposals.

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