18 months ago accident and emergency services and in-hospital services for children at the hospital serving Corby and East Northamptonshire were under serious threat of closure. I promised to do everything I could to stop local health cuts. That’s why I put politics aside and formed a cross party campaign with the MPs for Kettering and Wellingborough. We have worked together to ‘Save and Improve Kettering General Hospital’ and we have put a stop to the plans to downgrade A&E, maternity and children’s services. Now we are moving onto the next stage of our campaign. The population is growing locally and some of our NHS services and buildings have seen better days. I want our health services to be the best in the country and there is a lot of work to do. Our cross party campaign is pressing for:
- Extra money to help deal with the current capacity crisis in A&E
- New Urgent Care Centres
- Better access to GP services
To put pressure on the Government we need to show that we are backed by our constituents. I would be most grateful if you could fill in the survey below.
It is a year since I launched a cross-party campaign with the MPs for Kettering and Wellingborough to save and improve services at Kettering General Hospital, which serves my constituents. This is a review of our campaign and looks forward to our priorities for 2014.
In August of 2012 I learnt of the Healthier Together review of five hospitals: Kettering, Northampton, Milton Keynes, Bedford and Luton and Dunstable. At a presentation I attended the review team outlined their preferred option for the future of hospital services, which was to downgrade Accident and Emergency, in-patient paediatrics for children, and obstetrics and maternity at 2 out of the 5 hospitals. Read the rest of this entry »
Fighting to protect services at Kettering General Hospital is one of my top priorities. At present the so called ‘Healthier Together’ review is looking at the future of Kettering Hospital and four other hospitals. The models published by the review last September would see two out of the five hospitals lose a wide range of services including major injury and trauma services in A&E, inpatient pediatrics and obstetrics. A paper from the Healthier Together review showing detailed modelling across the five hospitals showed the ‘best option’ as a scenario in which Kettering would lose over 500 beds and a massive loss of services. In response to this I launched a massive public campaign, including a petition with more than 6000 signatures.
Healthier Together now tell me they are having a rethink. The ‘consultation’ has been delayed until later this year, while they take time to consider different options for Kettering, with a greater emphasis on how Northampton and Kettering hospital work together. There are significant funding and demand pressures on health services and one of the ways that Healthier Together argues that these can be addressed is by consolidating services. The argument for this is that people will be prepared to travel further for a better quality of care.
I can understand that it is better for some hosp itals to have specialisms. Many people from Corby go to hospitals further afield, such as Oxford Radcliffe, Moorfields, Great Ormond Street or Stoke Mandeville, to give a few examples, where these have particular expertise and facilities. However, people do want a proper A&E and full maternity service at the local hospital, rather than some distance away. This is something that my two neighbouring MPs, Philip Hollobone, MP for Kettering, and Peter Bone, MP for Wellingborough, also agree with. Although we represent different parties, we have decided to work together on this issue and have launched a joint campaign to save acute services at Kettering General Hospital.
3 MPs working together like this is unusual, and doing so on a cross party basis is quite unique. This does not mean that I agree with the Conservatives on their health policies – I don’t. However, I do believe that at a local level, there is a better chance of protecting services at Kettering Hospital if we work together, not just the MPs, but the councils and communities across Corby and East Northamptonshire, Kettering and Wellingborough. I hope that my constituents will support me in putting party politics aside on this issue to work together to save the hospital services that we all rely on.
This article appeared in the Evening Telegraph
Politician’s fears for Corby health services
NHS reorganisation costs are hitting Corby health services, a prospective MP has claimed.
Labour’s Andy Sawford made the statement as he called for action to improve access to GPs and stop the privatisation of local services.
Mr Sawford held a health day in the constituency today, visiting local services to highlight issues, including concerns about the privatisation of health services, prospects for a hospital in Corby and the need for improved access to GPs.
Mr Sawford met with GPs at the Lakeside Surgery, saw progress with the new Urgent Care Centre, and met with Corby Healthcare.
The visits follow major changes to health services being introduced by the government, including a reorganisation which will see the transfer of services from the Northamptonshire Primary Care trust to a range of new entities, and an increased role for the private sector.
Official figures reveal NHS Northamptonshire has already been forced to spend £870,000 laying off staff, and Mr Sawford says a leaked Government business case suggests more than £40m in Northamptonshire is being held back from NHS patient care to pay for the reorganisation.
Mr Sawford said: “Corby already has less funding per head of population than other areas in Northamptonshire and with these new costs of reorganisation it is really impacting, particularly on access to see family doctors.
“I met a lady in Kingswood recently who told me she had to call 999 because she couldn’t wait any longer to see the doctor, so the health service sent an ambulance and admitted her to hospital. This is very costly and could have been avoided.
“Corby Healthcare and local GPs are working hard to improve access, such as the new approach of doctors being available on the telephone, so some people don’t need to come into the surgery at all.
“The new Urgent Care Centre will also be a great addition and hopefully will be open by the autumn. I hope this will be a big step towards transferring more acute services to Corby so that people don’t have to travel and have much more convenient and effective health care on their doorstep.
“What is a real shame though is instead of rewarding local health providers for taking the initiative with the Urgent Care Centre by letting them run it, they have to now bid against lots of other providers, including the private sector.”