Campaigners say: “Treat more people at Newark”
8:32am Thu Sep 20, 2012
Campaigners say the Monitor findings prove more services need to be provided at Newark Hospital.
The Say Yes To Newark Hospital Campaign says the trust has missed out on funding by losing patients from Newark to hospitals in Lincoln and Grantham.
The campaign chairman, Mr Francis Towndrow, said: “If Newark was open for business 24/7 then it could be fully utilised and many patients could be treated again at a fine hospital.”
He said Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation Trust had tried to save money at Newark by downgrading its accident and emergency department to a minor injuries unit, closing the Friary Ward and not taking overnight admissions.
He said that proved counter-productive because many patients had ended up being treated at Lincoln or Grantham and not at King’s Mill, meaning the trust lost the funding it received for them.
He said it also increased the time and cost of ambulance transfers.
Campaign secretary Mr Paul Baggaley said: “It puts a big question mark over the management of the trust going back a long time.
“It is in the trust’s financial interest to treat more people at Newark Hospital.”
Mr Baggaley said the effect of the under-use of the hospital was illustrated by a fall in the number of people dying at Newark Hospital, while comparable figures rose at Lincoln and Grantham.
He said there had been a dramatic increase in Newark residents dying away from the town.
The campaign wants to see more services at Newark, including emergency care and assessment, out-of-hours cover, 24/7 admissions, telemedicine, a new-look Friary Ward offering inpatient beds, psycho-geriatric and respite care and the re-opening of Castle Ward.
Mr Baggaley said the under-use of Newark was down to bad management.
“It is down to people not seeing the big picture,” he said.
“If they are under financial pressure then the tendency is to draw in resources. PFI goes up every year and income is going down or staying the same.
“Money is going on the building at King’s Mill and not services.”
The MP for Newark, Mr Patrick Mercer, said it was crucial for the spare capacity at Newark to be used.
“The PFI at King’s Mill has always been a millstone round Newark’s neck and we have known that since its inception,” he said.
“The report clearly indicates that Newark Hospital has further capacity and that is what we have to ensure is used in future.
“The good thing to come out of this is that the hospital management can clearly see how crucial it is for Newark to forge ahead to ensure it continues to deliver a high level of service.”
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