Ilkeston meeting to defend our community hospitals
9 July 2019
Local members and residents attended a meeting to discuss the cuts to Ilkeston Community Hospital.
NHS campaigner, Cath Mears, began the meeting by presenting facts and figures from recent research by the Nuffield Trust, that clearly noted an increase in funds required to reform care in England and Wales. Cath also discussed a recent freedom of information request that revealed an average bed occupancy of over 90% in Ilkeston Community Hospital. Cath made it very clear that cuts to Ilkeston beds are neither warranted, nor actually likely to result in reduced costs to the public purse, given the costs that will result fron the restructuring of local services.
Ilkeston resident and NHS worker, Liz, gave her take on the local situation, noting promises made by Derbyshire’s health authorities and the local MP to maintain the number of beds in Ilkeston Community Hospital, before new community provision plans were in place. Liz also raised the fact that these points were promised at a public meeting where significant objection was raised to any cuts to the number of beds. Liz then discussed recent developments on this issue, presenting a report in which cuts to the number of beds was announced, on the proviso that the provision plans would be developed at a later date. It could not be more obvious how promises have been broken and how residents’ wishes have been ignored.
Representatives from the County Commissioning Group and Derbyshire Health were invited to the meeting to explain their position in response to the points raised by local people, but declined to attend the meeting. Erewash MP, Maggie Throup, was also invited to attend (or indeed, to send a deputy) to discuss these issues with meeting attendees, but also declined to attend the meeting without comment. Maggie has, however, presented a statement on her website, which is both vague scientifically inaccurate, discussing her proposals for other “options” and dangerously drawing an apparent (but thankfully deeply incorrect) link between a patients’ presence in hospital and muscle loss.
Attendees at the meeting then engaged in a discussion about the importance of community hospitals, with a number of deeply moving testimonials about the high quality of care provided at Ilkeston and other community hospitals.
Other speakers at the meeting included Brad Farnsworth, who created the original petition against bed cuts, and Catherine Atkinson, vocal supporter of the campaign and Erewash Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate.
The meeting concluded with a second discussion, this time about actions to be taken to save the hospital, with various attendees presenting ideas about how to take the campaign forward.