Dorset Clinical Services Review
The Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (a committee of local GPs) have finally (right after the election!!) announced (but only in outline) their money saving plans which involve decimation of NHS services in Dorset. However the proposed plan, which has cost us £3 million in consultancy fees, lacks details. As the head of Dorset Health Watch has said "The devil is in the detail". The CCG refuses to give any further information until they clear their plan with their bosses at government level and then consult with the public in August. This resulted in a farcial meeting with the governors and chief executive of Dorchester hospital who naturally want detail. As for the August consultation with the public, like most such consultations, you can bet that it will be false with lots of glossy display slides prepared by the expensive McKinsey consultancy company and the views of the public completely ignored. No wonder that CCGs around England are now becoming known as "Cynical Commissioning Groups".
The Kingfisher ward for children in Dorchester hospital will be run down, with long stay young patients being transferred to the East of the county. "Long stay" probably means more than one night, after the child has been "assessed"! That is going to cause immense difficulties for families visiting their sick children. The Dorset Echo have started a campaign to protect this children's ward facility. They have also started an on-line petition.
Please Sign the petition HERE. It has over 6000 signatures. A few thousand more on paper are currently being collated.
A Kingfisher ward mum's action group was set up. They have so far organised a demo in front of the CCG offices and then held a march in Dorchester town centre which attracted a huge crowd of 2000 marchers. See the photos in our web site gallery.
As well as closing around half of the community hospitals in Dorset the Dorset CCG will be making significant reductions at Dorset County hospital in Dorchester. These will require people of West Dorset to travel the extra 30-40 miles to the hospitals in the East of the county for appointments, treatments or to visit patients. The A&E in Dorchester is to be downgraded so that there is very little service available at night, meaning a blue light ambulance journey of an extra hour to reach Bournemouth. The so called "golden hour" for a patient will be missed, particularly since according to a recent article in Yarn Magazine the emergency ambulances are pretty much ignoring West Dorset at night.
A demonstration was carried out 15 April in Dorchester in front of the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group headquarters. We wanted the public to be informed of the likely changes to be made to Dorset NHS services which could very likely include closure and downgrading of hospitals from late 2015. The decisions were to have been made by end March, but then kept secret until after the election. Democracy demanded that the decisions were released to the public before the election so that they can be questions can be asked of the election candidates.
This Clinical Services Review (CSR) dates from October 2014 when the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (a committee of Dorset GPs) commenced a review to making major changes to NHS services in Dorset. The objective is to reduce costs of Dorset NHS even further than in 2010-2015. The changes are in line with the new models of healthcare announced by NHS England in late 2014. he national objective being to save a further £30 billion of so-called "efficiency savings" on top of £20 billion of such savings extracted in the last five years. The impact of these cuts, euphemistically called "efficiency savings", can be seen in the current dire state of NHS services nationally. Dorset CCG has enlisted the help of the American company McKinsey at a cost of £2.7 million from the Dorset NHS budget. That is equivalent to 454 hip replacements.
Apparently we Dorset residents are a problem for the NHS as Dorset has a much larger population of elderly people than average who are living longer and becoming a burden on the system. Moreover, apparently we also have too many young people who also stretch the Dorset NHS system with their ailments. The Dorset Health Campaign have been closely following the public presentations given by the CCG around the county and have asked relevant questions about the process, as have members of the public. Our objective is to ensure that decisions made by the CCG under the watchful eye of their sharp-suited American consultants do not present any danger to NHS patients in Dorset in their drive to reorganise, whch will have major risks for Dorset residents.
The government’s five year plan for the NHS is that newly devised models of care must be adopted over much of the country to reduce costs. These new models were created with advice from the large American consultancy company McKinsey. Dorset for some reason has “volunteered” to be the first area in England to change to these new low cost models even though we have problems of too many old and young people. That does seem rather risky.
The CCG Clinical Services Review team have been meeting with members of the public plus doctors and nurses to see what they think of possible proposed changes to Dorset’s NHS facilities. There have been lots of glossy McKinsey style brochures and slides, plus reams of vague medical/social statistics. That is the usual McKinsey curtain of “flim flam” as quoted in the recent book “NHS for Sale – Myths, Lies and Deception”. From answers to questions at the presentations and the general feel of the whole procedure, it does seem that the solution has already been decided and that the public engagement is just for show. McKinsey appear to be acting on behalf of NHS England to ensure that the required new models are put into place in Dorset, whatever the views of the public and clinicians, or even the CCG, might be.
As for Dorset having more elderly and young people than elsewhere, if that is the case, then the government should surely provide extra funding per head for the NHS in Dorset. Moreover, if the NHS as a whole were to be properly funded like the other advanced nations of the world, then this whole exercise, ending with massive risky changes to NHS patients in Dorset and elsewhere, would not be needed. We are talking here of only one part of the huge risky upheaval planned for Dorset’s NHS services starting in 2015/2015.
Dorchester Pathology Laboratory
Our major campaign fought last year was to save the large Dorchester hospital pathology laboratory from being sold off and moved outside of the county for no good reason. It was a many sided camapign with massive support from the public, the media and clinicians. We were so pleased when in early October 2014, the Dorset County hospital board decided to leave things as they were but to add more investment.