Video: Southwold and Patrick Stead community hospitals ‘will not close until new facilities are ready’
Hundreds turn out in Halesworth for meeting called by MP Therese Coffey
Chief executive of the Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Andy Evans, gave his word at a public meeting called by Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey into plans to close the Patrick Stead and Southwold hospitals.
The proposals, if approved, would see existing hospital beds substituted with “beds with care” in local care homes in the two towns.
In Haleswoth, this would include a new purpose-built, privately-run care home which would have some NHS beds.
The CCG also intends to introduce out-of-hospital doctors, nurses and other health and social care staff to provide care in the community and patients’ homes, while in-patient beds at Beccles Hospital would look after people who needed more immediate care.
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Hundreds of people visited Halesworth’s Rifle Hall to have their say.
Addressing the audience, Mr Evans stated that, despite the proposal documents saying that some beds at the Patrick Stead Hospital could close in April next year, no beds would be closed until replacement facilities were ready and vowed to put his promise in writing.
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He added that no-one requiring NHS-provided care would be charged for the use of an NHS bed in the private care home, nor would there be a time limit on how long that patient could be treated there.
“We are doing this because I, and other clinicians, believe it’s ultimately better for local patients,” he said. “If we know there’s a better model of care and better value for money, why would you not want us to do that?”
Commenting on the number of people in her audience, Dr Coffey said: “It just shows how much this matters to you, and I recognise that.”
The MP also moved to quell concerns on where funds gained through the sale of the Patrick Stead building would be spent.
She said: “In Felixstowe we got 80 per cent of the funds to help build a brand new health centre. I intend to do the same so that any funds from the Patrick Stead are spent here locally to support the patients that these two hospitals used to serve.
“I am concerned. My fundamental test - is this going to be better for the care of patients?
“A lot of money gets spent on maintaining old buildings which could be spent better on patient care. I’m absolutely passionate about doing what’s right for patients.
“Make sure you respond to the consultation. It matters that your voice is heard.”
Dr Coffey said she would be meeting with health secretary Jeremy Hunt and chief executive of the NHS Simon Stevens in the coming weeks to discuss the proposals further.
A further consultation meeting will be held by the CCG on Tuesday, July 7, at 7pm at The Cut, Halesworth.
To view the proposals visit www.greatyarmouthandwaveneyccg.nhs.uk
The public consultation runs until Tuesday, September 2.