Tag Archives: High Wycombe

Action needed to Save Children’s Centres in Buckinghamshire!

Related petition: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-buckinghamshire-s-children-s-centres

35 children’s centres are due to be closed and replaced by 9 ‘hubs’ in new proposals from Buckinghamshire County Council. Despite the text in the document, the move is a financial one and will make it difficult for people to access help and support in their local communities. Well established, ‘safe places’ like children’s centres are key in helping people access early help and support in order to prevent issues escalating. Other services this will affect include:

  • Bucks Family Information Service
  • Advice and support for young people through Connexions (Adviza)
  • Early Help coordinators
  • Families First
  • Family Resilience
  • Support for children who have lived with Domestic Violence (Refuge and Outreach) (Women’s Aid)
  • Support for parents through Barnardo’s
  • Young carers support
  • Youth Services

These existing services for 0-19 year olds and their families will be brought under one umbrella. It seems ‘the Councils’ resources will be focused on enabling the conditions in which our communities can prosper’ – enabling conditions by taking things away? Once again it is the most vulnerable who will be affected by these decisions.

*Please respond to the ‘consultation‘ by filling in the form here: https://www.research.net/r/EarlyHelpConsultation2017

Please click ‘yes’ on this survey monkey so that the number of responses can be monitored and used to challenge figures if need be: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/2PQGJ5M

Deadline 16th October

*Please also write to your MP https://www.writetothem.com/

‘Decisions will be made and taken to the Cabinet on the 23rd October
There will then be a “call in” period lasting 4 days during which local MPs have an opportunity to question or object to the plans.’ Therefore please contact your MP.

You can read the full proposal docs here: http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/care-for-children-and-families/improving-early-help-services-for-children-young-people-and-families/

And learn more about your local children’s centres here: https://www.facebook.com/wycombecc?fref=gc&hc_location=ufi

https://www.bucksfamilyinfo.org/kb5/buckinghamshire/fsd/childrenscentre.page?childrenscentrechannel=0

Thank you

Image from Bucks FIS

Image from Bucks Family Information Service. Children’s centres in Bucks

‘Must we sell everything?’ ‘Won’t somebody think of the children?’

Attacks on our NHS

Yesterday we learned that Buckinghamshire is one of eight regions designated to become an ‘Accountable Care Organisation’. NHS campaigners have warned that these are based on an USA model of healthcare and are designed to set up our NHS for privatisation and a health insurance based system. The architect for these changes is Simon Stevens who spent 10 years working for United Health before becoming Chief Executive of our NHS.

We’ve gone from calling it a ‘Casualty’ unit, to an Urgent Care Centre, to an Urgent Treatment Centre however our MP has yet to explain what this actually means for our hospital. Our MP, Steve Baker, felt his stance on our hospital was ‘vindicated’ at the 2015 election. Questions about who would run the unit and whether GP surgeries would close need answering before anything is accelerated, along with what this will actually look like, and importantly, treat. Our current understanding is that it won’t treat anything additional. No doubt there will be politicians happy to pose outside a sign change to an Urgent Care/Treatment centre as though it’s an achievement, however they should be reminded that we have FEWER services than when our MP first came into power in 2010.

Threats to our community hospitals continue, with patients who would have been treated close to home, now taking up spaces in other hospitals like Wexham. Not one local MP has responded to emails with regards to Marlow or Thame. Yet the overnight bed closures have directly impacted someone our MP has worked with. In fact, some of Marlow forms his constituency.

We have long been concerned about the land at Wycombe hospital, given to Wycombe as a memorial to the Great War. This land on Queen Alexandra Road was given to the people of High Wycombe to honour those that died and to care for women and children. Our local STP mentions ‘estates’, and our Prime Minister has openly shown support for the Naylor review, which not only incentivises Trusts to sell their hospital land, campaigners feel it blackmails them to do so. Selling of our much needed hospital land, or disguising this under the guise of better housing for staff would be completely unacceptable.

Smaller, accessible, familiar GP surgeries are essential for vulnerable patients however this model is threatened with the private sector preferring ‘federations’ and larger centres/hubs.

We’ve helped spread the NHS message with regards to use of pharmacies as a first port of call for certain conditions, yet the threat on these hasn’t been removed.

Meanwhile services which have left Wycombe Hospital, struggle under the pressure.
Underpaid and demoralised by this government, staff are leaving our NHS. Well used, successful hospitals like Charing Cross are earmarked to be sold.

Our entire NHS needs saving. And it needs saving from this government. The decision to underfund our NHS is a political one and it comes from the top. Whilst the government would like to pretend that decisions are made locally, these are very much top down changes. It’s time for our MPs to step up. They won’t be forgiven when our NHS is gone. They won’t be forgiven if our hospital land is sold, or if our NHS is further privatised. We all deserve the best healthcare, and evidence shows that this is the NHS. Private health insurance will only cover so far, when a patient’s condition becomes complicated, it is the NHS which takes care of us.

https://www.writetothem.com/

http://999callfornhs.org.uk/999-judicial-review/4593838706

 

 

Bucks NHS – Urgent Action Needed – An open letter to local MPs

Dear local MPs,

You will be aware that as a result of Buckinghamshire not receiving adequate NHS funding, Marlow and Thame lost twenty overnight beds from the 1st April for the ‘community hubs’ ‘pilot’. These bed closures are already affecting people and are likely to be rolled out to our other community hospitals. Bed closures in the county will impact other hospitals in and around Bucks, this affects us all.
This letter is a request that local MPs get together and take swift action to ensure our NHS urgently gets the funding it needs and that those beds are reopened. We must stop ‘Sustainability and Transformation plans’ (STPs) which will result in more hospital downgrades, including ‘1 in 6’ A&Es. Steps also need to be taken to restore Wycombe hospital to a fully functioning one once more.

The community hospital beds closed at the start of this month without adequate public consultation. At the very least there should be a thorough consultation on the whole of our STP plan. Whilst other councils are putting the needs of their communities first and rejecting STPs, once again Buckinghamshire County Council’s health scrutiny committee have failed the population of Bucks with their lack of scrutiny, (having not even looked at basic documents like Equality Impact Assessments before the changes). In fact, this past year’s HASC webcasts contain some somewhat embarrassing content.
At a time when (due to billions of pounds worth of cuts) social care is struggling, and hospitals site missing targets due to ‘bed blocking’ these closures defy common sense. In HASC’s March discharge enquiry meeting, it was discussed that ‘there are not the care home places for people to go into’, and that ‘some care homes won’t accept council funded patients’ so it’s bizarre that there wasn’t more challenge to the plans. Worryingly, not all the community services will be in place for the start of the ‘pilot’.

We engaged fully with the ‘Community Hub’ sessions and bed closures weren’t explicitly discussed. Our petition against further downgrades reached its 1000 signature target in under two days.[1] Our protest had a fantastic turn out.

These beds must be reopened quickly and the excellent staff teams redeployed.

Attached is an image of a child on a makeshift bed made of two chairs put together. It was taken at Stoke Mandeville just over a year ago, and whilst a difficult image to attach, was sent to local decision makers along with details of the experience. Unfortunately, nothing appears to have been done. We had a very difficult winter locally, with Stoke Mandeville in ‘Black alert’, requesting that patients who could go home to do so, and the John Radcliffe cancelling non-urgent operations.
The continued downgrade of the busy Horton General will increase the strain on Oxford’s John Radcliffe. As more housing is being built, including Aylesbury’s garden village, the strain on Stoke Mandeville is only set to increase. In the last couple of years, we have had fires at both Stoke and Wexham. Whilst these were dealt with quickly, they show a big flaw in mass centralisation of services. People have faced many difficulties since Wycombe lost Dr-led births, SCBU and our A&E (with associated wards/departments). Closing more departments/beds when they are overwhelmed and we have a growing population is unacceptable, and distance to services does make a difference. The UK already lags behind many countries in terms of bed numbers.

GP surgeries like Lynton must be given the resources to be open full time again and urgent action needs to be taken to ensure the recruitment, training and retention of staff. Step down wards like 5B should be reopened so that people on the health/social care borderline can be discharged when it is safe. Additional funding is needed for prevention and education, so that we can see the benefit later down the line.

Further hospital downgrades and dissemination of our NHS must be halted.

Buckinghamshire has received less funding for some time and is ahead when it comes to hospital downgrades/centralisation. Yet we are still expected to make millions of pounds of savings under the STP process?
Evidence shows that the NHS is the most cost effective, efficient health care system in the world. Whilst we continue to spend less of our GDP on health than our neighbours, I’m afraid concerns that the NHS is being deliberately set up for privatisation seem justified. Our last letter from the Department of Health mentioned £10bn going into the NHS however this has been disputed, including by the parliamentary Health Select Committee. There is evidence that investing in health results in economic growth [2]

A study at Oxford states that ‘30,000 excess deaths in 2015’ were ‘linked to cuts in health and social care’. [3]
It is time, as our MPs, that you truly champion our hospitals and NHS. I’m aware that an election has been called, but quite frankly this can’t wait until July/September and beyond.

On behalf of concerned residents of Buckinghamshire,

Ozma

Miss Ozma Hafiz

Email: savewycombehospital@live.co.uk

Blog: www.savewycombehospital.co

[1] https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/no-further-downgrades-of-buckinghamshire-s-hospitals-including-community-hospitals

[2]  http://globalizationandhealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1744-8603-9-43

[3] http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2017-02-20-30000-excess-deaths-2015-linked-cuts-health-and-social-care

An Open Letter to Steve Baker MP

13.01.17

Dear Steve,
Approximately 11 months ago I sent you an image of a child at Stoke Mandeville on a makeshift bed made of two chairs put together. The image had already been on social media and I had permission to share it with you however it was a difficult image to attach.
It is upsetting to learn that Stoke Mandeville continues to be overwhelmed. In fact there have at times been calls for patients who can go home to do so and come back the next day. What has been done since that image was taken to make life easier for staff, patients and their families?

It is distressing knowing that the STP process will mean more hospitals will be downgrading. Hospitals like Huddersfield which serves a town/population not too dissimilar to ours. You can view how busy Huddersfield hospital is here: http://www.examiner.co.uk/…/revealed-huddersfield-ae-patien…
The continued downgrade of the busy Horton General will increase the strain on Oxford’s John Radcliffe. More operations at the JR were cancelled today: http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/…/15022188.HOSPITAL_CRISIS__Al…/ As more housing is being built, including Aylesbury’s garden village, the strain on Stoke Mandeville is only set to increase. In the last couple of years, we have had fires at both Stoke and Wexham. Whilst these were dealt with quickly, they show a big flaw in mass centralisation of services.

Please speak up for the other hospitals facing downgrades. You are aware of the many difficulties people face here since Wycombe lost Dr led births, SCBU and our A&E (with associated wards/departments). Closing more departments/beds when they are overwhelmed and we have a growing population is unacceptable, and distance to services does make a difference. I have attached an image showing how the UK compares with other countries in terms of bed numbers.

Please ensure the NHS gets the funding it needs. An example is HS2 money could be spent on the existing network and the NHS. (Also did the last budget really contain tax cuts at a time when there are NHS staff attending food banks?!)

Please ensure the Department of Health understands that Wycombe and surrounds needs its own fully functioning hospital here, and that that is reflected in any A&E redesign/refurbishment at Wexham Park. Urgent action also needs to be taken to ensure the recruitment, retention and training of staff.
Please ensure the NHS has funding so that busy GP surgeries like Lynton House can be open full time again. Currently the surgery is only open part time due to a lack of money. Any money earmarked for social care must be brought forward to reduce the burden on the NHS. Billions of pounds worth of cuts in social care have added to the strain. Step down wards like 5B should be reopened so that people on the health/social care borderline can be discharged when it is safe. Additional funding is needed for prevention and education, so that we can see the benefit later down the line.

Buckinghamshire has received less funding for some time and is ahead when it comes to hospital downgrades/centralisation. Yet we are still expected to make millions of pounds of savings under the STP process?

Our last letter to the Treasury was sadly referred to the Department of Health. I hope you will be able to take forward the points made: https://savewycombehospital.wordpress.com/…/an-open-letter…/

Evidence shows that the NHS is the most cost effective, efficient health care system in the world. Yet we spend less of our GDP on health than many EU countries. I’m told that the NHS doesn’t fit everyone’s ideology. If this is the case then it’s OK to look at the evidence and have an exception.

A sign change to an urgent care centre simply isn’t good enough. If Wycombe is to have an urgent care centre, it should be next door to an A&E department so that patients can be triaged accordingly. I appreciate that you commissioned consultants Durrow to advise you on Wycombe hospital. However you must accept that their involvement in the downgrades of Wycombe made it unlikely that they would advocate the return of full maternity and A&E to Wycombe hospital. Their use of ‘casualty department’ for what is essentially a minor injuries unit showed a severe lack of understanding of public conceptions and needs.
I look forward to seeing you as our MP, truly champion our hospital, county, and NHS.

beds-numbers

Response:

Reply:

Dear Steve,

Thank you for your letter. As you’ve mentioned the Bucks Free Press more than once, I will respond to some of the issues raised.

This is also a request that you act urgently to halt our STP and ensure that our NHS gets the funding it deserves. At the very least there should be a full, proper consultation on the whole of our STP including the removal of beds at Marlow and Thame. We engaged fully with the ‘Community Hub’ sessions and bed closures weren’t explicitly discussed.

In fact, this letter could be filled with how the NHS was engaged with by me in the last year alone, let alone by others. But In short, with your comment about participation, you’re very much mistaken.

The campaign continues to receive support from across the political spectrum and I continue to update our Facebook group with any public meetings I’m aware of (as I have done for years). However, over the incredibly important issue of health, surely as our elected representative you should work with anyone in your constituency, regardless of whether they are of a different political persuasion. As you know there are many people who support the return of services to Wycombe, including politicians, scientists and doctors.

There are many points raised in the letter which you didn’t address.

 You talk about cardiac and stroke care, which we already have. But ‘The College of Emergency Medicine, which represents A&E doctors, said it never believed that the massive centralisation of services was justified clinically’

What evidence is there that services such as respiratory, gastro etc. are actually performing better since moving to Stoke?

 Unfortunately, you and I know that changes aren’t always clinically led. Last year, we lost certain vascular procedures despite a successful rotation with Oxford and evidence of good/better outcomes in Wycombe. Our local HASC scrutiny committee has once again failed to refer an important matter to the Health Secretary. I’m still hopeful they will. Other hospitals have certainly benefitted from their scrutiny committee’s referrals in the past.

I want to provide reassurance that I’m not asking for cardiac treatment to go back to a time before I was born.

As our MP, you’re right you do have access to officials. Perhaps you could publish the minutes of these meetings.  My understanding was that the NHS was keen to get a consistency of message as to what an Urgent Care Centre does. I’m afraid I’m yet to come across what you describe as an Urgent Care Centre, links to this information would be useful – certainly the Urgent Care Centre in Maidenhead is a Minor Injuries Unit without a CSRU.  Heart attack and Stroke aren’t listed in on the NHS choices website as being treated by UCCs, and the 2015 built QEII UCC seems to have a different set up to what you describe.

-What reassurances can you give us that cardiac and stroke services will still be in Wycombe in 5-10 years time, and not centralised e.g. to Oxford?

-What are the future plans for the Tower Block area?

-Where do you envisage your model of ‘urgent care centre’ being set up? Will it all fit into our PFI building? Who will run it?

-Where would the extra GPs come from? Would a GP surgery have to close?

Surely having learned about the difficulties people have faced you recognise that things like not having the excellent children’s ward open 24/7 is insufficient for our growing population needs?

 The Durrow report says ‘Nor do they imply that the range of patients treated at Wycombe will be expanded’, so although it is appreciated that the services would be slightly more integrated, I’m sure we can be forgiven for calling it a sign change. With all due respect, you can pose outside an Urgent Care Centre before the next election but you won’t be thanked for it. As I have said before, we all deserve better, including you.

 You’re right, my intentions are pure, however there is more than ‘noble’ intentions behind this campaign and support only continues to grow because these downgrades have affected and continue to affect real people in your constituency.

 Not providing people with misleading information is very important, which is why on more than one occasion I have contacted you directly with regards to errors on your literature sent through the letter box.

I believe the letter sent to you showed an understanding of the challenges the NHS faces, hence why it included points about the urgent recruitment, training and retention staff etc.

I look forward to receiving answers to the questions and we are happy to look at journals with you. All I’ve ever wanted is for our MP to champion our needs and I’ve mentioned before that I wish to engage with you constructively. It’s time to step up and ensure that you make it clear to the Department of Health and the Treasury, that the people of Wycombe and surrounds deserve, and need, better.  The NHS is headed in the wrong direction with mass closures. People we have worked with through SOHS/Marlow PAG are already being impacted by the ‘pilot’ at their community hospital.  Please act urgently.

Whilst we continue to spend less of our GDP on health than our neighbours, I’m afraid concerns that the NHS is being deliberately set up for privatisation seem justified.

I attach a letter sent to local Councillors, so that you can read more about the community hospital ‘pilots’, facts like the cancelled operations at the John Radcliffe over the winter, and quotes from notable NHS figures. https://savewycombehospital.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/marlow-and-thame-pilots-letter-to-councillors/

Kind regards,

Ozma

Response:

SB reply May17

We will be going back with numbered questions. Many remain unanswered.

 

‘Pause, next time you pass’- Guest Blog

sarah-jane-searle

Image credit: Instagram @sjsearlephotography

Next time you walk in the main front entrance of Wycombe Hospital, pause before you get to the door, and look at the war memorial to the men from High Wycombe who died in two World Wars.

Why there? In front of a hospital?

The story goes back to 1918.

Out of a population of around 20,000, so many young men gave their lives. There were discussions on how best they would be remembered. Lord Carrington had lost his son, Viscount Wendover at the battle of Passchendaele , but the vast majority of the men who died were working class: fathers, sons,brothers. How would they like to be remembered, the town wondered?

Someone suggested that they would be best pleased if they knew that their wives and children were properly cared for in times of illness. And so the War Memorial Hospital came to be built! Lord Carrington gave the piece of land, and from the predominently working class town, sufficient money was raised to create High Wycombe’s War Memorial Hospital. It belonged to the town, and the people were proud of their memorial.

Too soon afterwards, came World War II. Then the excitement of the Labour government, with their wish to bring in a government that cared for everyone, so came the National Health Service, and a new hospital was planned as the town was growing rapidly.

It became Wycombe General Hospital, but in memory of the first hospital in High Wycombe, the memorial to those who died in those two world wars is quietly displayed at its entrance.

Pause, next time you pass.

Frances Alexander

jan-gaska-3

Image credit: Jan Gaska (http://www.jangaska.co.uk)

 

An open letter to our new Chancellor

Dear Rt. Hon Philip Hammond,

Congratulations on your appointment to Chancellor of the Exchequer. We have a petition of over 12,000 signatures addressed to you to the following text:

We ask you to ensure that Buckinghamshire not only receives the national average in funds, but we also receive enough public funding so that key services are restored to Wycombe Hospital.
For a substantial amount of time now, Buckinghamshire has received less funding per capita than most of the country for our hospitals. This ‘cash-starving’ or ‘squeeze’ contributed to downgrades at Amersham and Wycombe hospitals and our Trust has recently been in ‘special measures’.
Since the downgrades at Wycombe hospital, many people have suffered and neighbouring hospitals have been overwhelmed. 
Staff, patients and their loved ones deserve better.’’

Please note the following.
This petition is endorsed by many celebrities, has regional support, has received support from an array of politicians, and staff from neighbouring hospitals are rooting for it to do well.
High Wycombe, a town with good motorway links, has a population of over 170,000 and with new housing being built, the population in Buckinghamshire is set to rise. Chiltern CCG commission services for 320,000 people and yet within that we don’t have our own A&E, full maternity and children’s services. A recent ‘federation’ with neighbouring Aylesbury CCG doesn’t appear to have resulted in plans to restore services, in fact it is feared that our county will lose more NHS services including GP surgeries, under ‘Sustainability and Transformation plans’. These plans are a result of the NHS being forced to make £22 billion worth of efficiency savings. I’m sure the fact that we are campaigning 10 years on from when downgrades began to our hospital, speaks volumes about the direction the NHS is headed with more A&E and maternity closures expected across the country. These services may be considered expensive, however they are also vital. We understand that private companies aren’t interested in running services which they cannot profit from, and a pressured, cash-strapped NHS is having to close these services down, as is evident from the number of hospital campaigns that now exist and the STP plans that have been published.

It is hard to accept these downgrades when we spend less of our GDP on health than our neighbours, and below the OECD average, with better outcomes (Independent Common Wealth Fund report). According to the Kings Fund, as a proportion of GDP, funding will fall to 6.6 per cent compared to 7.3 per cent in 2014/15. But, if spending kept pace with growth in the economy, by 2020/21 the UK NHS would be spending around £16 billion more than planned [2].

There is also evidence that investing in health results in economic growth [3].

Since downgrades at Wycombe Hospital, many have reported having to take extra time off work, be it to attend appointments for themselves or to visit loved ones in hospital. Some already commute to their place of work outside of our county. It could be argued that the extra distance caused by loss of local health services is negatively impacting the economy, both by additional time taken off work and the health strain it is having on patients and loved ones. For some, distance to services can result in extra days needed for recovery.

Last year Healthwatch reported that for many residents, the stress, anxiety and cost associated with getting to appointments has become a major issue.
HS2 construction is likely to cause congestion on an already difficult journey to our neighbouring A&E Stoke Mandeville. Many in our locality feel the money could be better spent, for example on improving the current rail network and on our NHS.

The main route to Stoke Mandeville Hospital was flooded in 2014. Recent fires at both this hospital and neighbouring Wexham Park, whilst dealt with quickly, also demonstrate a flaw in mass centralisation of services.

A strong economy needs a strong NHS. If we keep people well and reduce the additional burdens that distance to services causes, people can contribute more to the economy. Please invest more in health by providing our local hospital with the money required to return it to a fully functioning one once more, and protecting other NHS services by providing the much needed funding to maintain them. Whilst the NHS isn’t perfect, it is the most cost-effective and efficient health service in the world. It is clear that the £10 billion figure mentioned to us in a recent letter from the Department of Health, simply is not good enough.

We look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,
Miss Ozma Hafiz

[1] https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/fair-funding-for-buckinghamshire

[2] https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/blog/2016/01/how-does-nhs-spending-compare-health-spending-internationally

[3] http://globalizationandhealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1744-8603-9-43

An Open Letter to Our Health Secretary

Dear Rt. Hon Jeremy Hunt,

Congratulations on your reappointment as our Secretary of State for Health.

You mentioned that your ‘proudest political achievement’ was helping to save Surrey A&E. As Health Secretary we are calling on you to work with other decision makers to restore Wycombe Hospital to a fully functioning one once more, with services including A&E, full maternity and overnight children’s services.

This week some of us gathered at our hospital to send you our message at the start of the parliamentary recess. You can watch our video here: https://vimeo.com/176650226

We formed a chain outside the hospital with our hands up to show that we want downgrades to stop and services restored.

Our petition has reached over 11,000 signatures: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/fair-funding-for-buckinghamshire

Everyone deserves good quality, safe, effective NHS services closer to home. Centralisation of services has gone too far.

We look forward to your response.

With regards,

Ozma

Miss Ozma Hafiz
SaveWycombeHospital
Email: savewycombehospital@live.co.uk             Tweet: @HandBackOurHosp

 

 

IMG_4604 (2)