No threat to A&E say MP, Trust and min­is­ter

Southport Visiter - - Front Page - BY JAMIE LOPEZ jamie.lopez@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @jamie_lopez1

SOUTHPORT Hospi­tal and its A&E depart­ment will re­main and are not un­der threat, say the Gov­ern­ment’s health min­is­ter, the town’s MP and the lo­cal hospi­tal trust chair­man.

Health Min­is­ter Philip Dunne, Southport MP Damien Moore and Southport and Orm­skirk Hospi­tal Trust chair­man Richard Fraser made the joint an­nounce­ment re­spond­ing to re­cent claims that the hospi­tal’s fu­ture was un­der threat.

It had also been sug­gested in a draft Sus­tain­abil­ity and Trans­for­ma­tion Plan (STP) for Mersey­side & Cheshire that the A&E could face re­duced hours or be­gin to re­fer some of the most se­ri­ous cases to Whis­ton and oth­ers.

How­ever, this pro­posal – which also raised the same pos­si­bil­ity for other hos­pi­tals across Cheshire and Mersey­side – was dropped from the fi­nal doc­u­ment and Mr Moore and Mr Fraser have moved to re­as­sure res­i­dents no changes are cur­rently planned.

Many in the town have feared for the hospi­tal’s ser­vices be­ing fur­ther re­duced since the ma­ter­nity depart­ment and chil­dren’s A&E were closed in 2004.

Mr Moore, who was elected in May, re­cently met with health min­is­ter Mr Dunne to dis­cuss Southport Hospi­tal and its fu­ture and has slammed sug­ges­tions it could close as “non­sen­si­cal”.

Mr Fraser said that he had heard no of­fi­cial plans or pro­pos­als to down­grade A&E ser­vices and he could not fore­see the town not need­ing a 24-hour A&E.

Con­ser­va­tive MP Mr Moore added that any fu­ture changes to the hospi­tal’s ser­vices would be made by med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als rather than politi­cians based “on the ba­sis of pa­tient safety”.

He said: “I un­der­stand there are a num­ber of con­cerns sur­round­ing the hospi­tal. The Trust has faced a num­ber of se­vere pres­sures on sev­eral fronts. The most im­me­di­ate and press­ing one be­ing able to find a long-term chief ex­ec­u­tive who will pro­vide sta­bil­ity.

“This real is­sue, how­ever, has only been side­lined by a num­ber of un­help­ful and mis­lead­ing sug­ges­tions as to the long-term fu­ture of Southport Hospi­tal.

“I want to make it per­fectly clear: Southport Formby Dis­trict Hospi­tal will re­main open; the ur­gent re­sponse cen­tre will re­main open; and res­i­dents will con­tinue to re­ceive first-class health care.

“Whilst I un­der­stand the Trust has re­cently come to a de­ci­sion to es­tab­lish a clin­i­cal se­nate, led by med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als, to de­cide how they may bet­ter de­liver key ser­vices, there’s never been a sug­ges­tion that the hospi­tal would close. In fact, it’s rather the op­po­site.

“The Trust will con­tinue to work with lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and the Gov­ern­ment to con­sider how they will de­liver ser­vices in the long-term, whilst work­ing with neigh­bour­ing hos­pi­tals to pro­vide the best qual­ity care avail­able, in­clud­ing the prospect of en­hanc­ing key ser­vices in Southport.’’ The MP added: ‘‘All hos­pi­tals are sub­ject to a re­view to de­ter­mine the safety of their ser­vices and the qual­ity of care they are pro­vid­ing; there­fore, the sug­ges­tion that Southport Hospi­tal needs ‘sav­ing’ is non­sen­si­cal and mis­lead­ing. All pub­lic bod­ies are re­quired by reg­u­la­tion to hold pe­ri­od­i­cal re­views.

“Fur­ther­more, should the hospi­tal pro­pose any con­sid­er­able change to the way it op­er­ates in the fu­ture, I wish to re­as­sure the pub­lic that those changes can now only be brought about by ex­pe­ri­enced med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als – not beau­racrats or politi­cians – and on the ba­sis of pa­tient safety.

“The fu­ture of Southport Hospi­tal has never been more clear.”

Mr Dunne said: “Po­lit­i­cal scare­mon­ger­ing in the run-up to an elec­tion will have caused im­mense stress to the peo­ple of Southport. This dam­ages con­fi­dence in clin­i­cal lead­ers and un­der- mines ef­forts to re­cruit and re­tain clin­i­cal staff.

“While there may be changes in the fu­ture, brought about by ad­vice from ex­pe­ri­enced med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als, it is cat­e­gor­i­cally wrong to sug­gest the hospi­tal or emer­gency ser­vices are at risk of clo­sure – I am aware of no such pro­pos­als.”

Trust chair­man Richard Fraser said: “No pro­posal has been dis­cussed by, or pre­sented to, the Trust board about ei­ther clos­ing emer­gency ser­vices or re­pro­fil­ing their hours since I have been chair­man. The board will con­sider the out­come of the sys­tem re­view as it emerges.

“No Trust is an is­land and no or­gan­i­sa­tion can cat­e­gor­i­cally rule out the po­ten­tial for change in the fu­ture. How­ever, I can­not cur­rently fore­see a sit­u­a­tion where 24/7 emer­gency ser­vices will not be needed in this health econ­omy.”

Above, A&E at Southport hospi­tal has never been un­der threat says Trust chair­man Richard Fraser

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