At the time of the Newark Healthcare Review Sir David Nicholson Chief Executive of the Department of Health wrote to all health authorities on the subject of reconfiguration of services and stated that, “commissioners will want to make a strong case for the quality of proposed services and improvements in the patient experience in their submission.”
Since the Newark Healthcare Review we have not seen improvements in healthcare or in the patient experience and the situation appears to be deteriorating. On the back of promises of better specialist care we have seen other services cut. This has been compounded by the deteriorating financial situation at SFHFT.
The Castle ward has closed
There has been a 15% reduction in staff since reconfiguration
According to Monitor Newark Hospital is underutilised by 55%
Newark Hospital is now closed to admissions after 6pm
The number of people from Newark dying in alternative hospitals has nearly doubled in two years.
On the 26th Jan 2010 the PCT told the scrutiny committee that “The Ambulance service covers the whole of the East Midlands and currently meets or exceeds the DH targets for performance in all categories across the region.” We now know that ambulance transfer times have deteriorated. From the latest figures available the average transfer time for Category A emergencies, the most life threatening, is nearly two hours.
NH Notts failed to inform the Notts Overview Scrutiny Committee (NOSC) that “the financial shift of around £3m of non-elective (unplanned care) income from Newark Hospital would threaten its viability” (Professional Medical Committee May 2010). They did however, tell NOSC that the investment required to “run a fully operational A&E (e.g. equipment, extra staff, theatres) would cost at least £2 – 2.5million in addition to the current budget” (Report to the Health and Wellbeing Standing Committee.)
From the latest available performance report KMH is not meeting its handover and waiting time targets at the A and E.
Latest figures show that SFHFT and LUH have both been assessed as low on efficiency and high on patient mortality. Please follow the link http://myhospitalguide.drfosterhealth.co.uk/
There is no evidence that the promised improvements in specialist care has improved outcomes or saved lives.
We were told that the ambulance would become our hospital on wheels and that all ambulances would have a paramedic onboard. Yet we have learned that even for patients suffering from a heart attack or stroke as few as 50% of ambulance have a paramedic on board.
Repatriations have not happened as planned.
Transfers from Newark Hospital have not been reduced. In the review we were promised that transfers would reduce to just 80 per annum. They are around 100 per month.
Waiting times at alternative A and Es are increasing. In 2009-10, the last financial year before the Newark A&E closed, 1,351 patients had to wait for more than four hours at the A&E in King’s Mill Hospital. By 2011-12, that number had risen to 4,074.
We have recently learned that the excellent and popular consultant surgeon at Newark Hospital Mr Broodryk has had his contract terminated. Because he was spending too much time with his patients.
Newark and Sherwood has the highest population of over 65s in Nottinghamshire, the heaviest users of emergency care and that the number of over 65’s is set to double by 2026.
We also have a highest proportion of road traffic accidents in Nottinghamshire, double the National Average.
The population of Newark is set to increase by nearly 50% by 2026
What the experts say:
Professor Jon Nicholl
MANY experts strongly dispute the ‘right place, first time’ argument for closing departments and concentrating A&E services, other than for a small number of conditions such as strokes, burns and head injuries which need highly specialized care.
Jon Nicholl, Professor of Health Services Research at Sheffield University and the former deputy director of the Medical Research Council, co-authored a huge, four-year study of more than 10,000 ‘Category A’ emergency cases. Published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine, it found that increasing A&E patients’ journeys leads to ‘an increased risk of death’.
His study found that overall, each extra 10 kilometres travelled to A&E will increase the proportion of patients who will die by 20 per cent. It concluded: ‘Closing local Emergency Departments could result in an increase in mortality for… patients with life-threatening emergencies, who have to travel further as a result.’
The dangers posed by greater distances applied equally to all types of patient, irrespective of age, gender or illness type. According to the study, only 5.8 per cent of patients who travelled less than 10 km to A&E died before being discharged from hospital. Among patients who travelled more than 21 km, almost 9 per cent died.
Professor Nicholl said recently that although some of the A&E closure policy’s supporters had claimed that modern ambulances were ‘hospitals on wheels’, this is simply mistaken. ‘And if they’re not, then extra distance means extra risk, and this is unavoidable’.
‘Closing a department might make sense in one area,’ Professor Nicholl said, ‘but it is being in applied in others where it doesn’t fit very well.’ The national ‘one size fits all’ approach would undoubtedly cost some patients their lives.