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End bickering over hospital
10:24am Thu Dec 13, 2012

In last week’s Advertiser our GPs responded to MP Patrick Mercer’s call for Newark Hospital’s Minor Injuries Unit to be upgraded.

I have two concerns relating to the GPs’ response and the reaction of the health authorities more generally.

The first is that they consistently fail to differentiate between types of emergency healthcare.

The number of cases that require high levels of specialist care is very small.

Most emergencies can be treated anywhere with the right diagnostic equipment and appropriately trained staff and it is this element — the availability of appropriately trained staff — that is missing from Newark Hospital at the moment.

It is this element that has been removed by Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, not to improve care but to save money.

The second is that they are failing to listen to what their patients are saying.

The GPs continue to talk about Newark not being able to sustain a full A&E, but I don’t hear anyone asking for a full A&E.

Local people want something along the lines of what they have at Grantham or Worksop.

These are similar towns with similar populations that aren’t specialist centres, but they provide a higher level of emergency care than at Newark.

The real issues are around people being transported to other hospitals unnecessarily, not being repatriated, very low levels of emergency care and not getting treated locally when they can be.

Linda Smith, whose husband died tragically from a heart attack asks the legitimate question: Should there be an option to stabilise patients first at Newark Hospital and then transfer to the appropriate specialist centre?

The emergency services are operating at the limits of clinical guidance and whilst we all want the best care possible we want them to save our lives first.

Two years ago Doug Black, medical director for NHS Nottinghamshire County stated in a meeting that people in Newark would get used to the reconfiguration of services at Newark Hospital. How wrong can you be?

What has happened is that as the effect of the changes has been more widely felt it has caused real hardship and anger.

It is now time to resolve this issue once and for all.

County councillor Martin Suthers seemed to suggest last week that we now have to have a fresh pair of eyes look at the provision of healthcare in Newark.

It is time to put the bickering behind us, do the right thing and have an independent review.

— PAUL BAGGALEY, secretary, Say Yes to Newark Hospital.

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