Save Newark Hospital

Protecting Newark Healthcare Jobs and Services

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The Save Newark Hospital Campaign today announced that Dr Peter Jones, the recently retired leading local GP and National Clinical Lead for Primary Care in the Cancer Services Collaborative Improvement Partnership (CSCIP), has offered to help form an advisory group to try to help establish what services could and should be developed at Newark Hospital.

It is intended that Dr Jones will help establish a group of local GPs and healthcare professionals to help inform the debate on the proposed reduction of services at Newark Hospital.

Paul Baggaley, Secretary of the Save Newark Hospital Campaign, welcomed Dr Jones saying, “many local people believe that they were misled by NHS Nottinghamshire County over the Newark Healthcare Review and are disappointed that the major issues for the future of healthcare in Newark were not up for consultation.  Dr Jones and his colleagues will help provide the technical knowledge and understanding to help to continue the fight to save healthcare jobs and services in Newark.”

Dr Jones stated that “I believe that healthcare services in Newark are under threat.  I am delighted to be able to assist and I hope that I and my colleagues can help guide what services should and could be developed at Newark Hospital.”

Francis Towndrow, newly appointed Chair of the Save Newark Hospital Campaign commented “this is a major step forward for the campaign and will help provide important support for the case for an independent review.”

Health Minister Simon Burns has agreed to speak at a Westminster Hall debate to be hosted by the Newark MP Patrick Mercer next Tuesday (6th July).

The debate will centre around the future of Newark hospital and last for half an hour (1300-1330). A stakeholders meeting involving NHS Nottinghamshire County, Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust, Mr Mercer, Save Newark Hospital Campaign and GPs will then follow locally on a date to be decided – probably within the next two weeks.

Commenting Mr Mercer said:

‘I’m delighted the Health Minister is taking such an interest in our hospital. Today’s visit was his first ministerial visit and he spoke with many members of staff during his tour of the hospital. The fight for the future of our hospital is not over. But at last we are getting somewhere.’

The Minister’s visit to Newark followed NHS Nottinghamshire Trust’s decision to rename the hospital’s A&E ‘minor injuries unit plus’ on 17th June and close beds.

Save Newark Hospital Campaign Chair, Dr Ian Campbell said:

 “The Minister reiterated Government policy that local public opinion should be at the heart of NHS decision making. The issue over A&E in Newark is a perfect opportunity for that policy to start. Now that we have political involvement at the highest level perhaps NHS Nottighamshire County will listen to the majority of people in Newark, and to our MP, who are opposed to their plans.”

The Health Minister Simon Burns, who visits Newark hospital today (Thursday 1st July), will be told two million extra miles are likely to be travelled as a result of NHS Nottinghamshire County’s decision to downgrade Newark Hospital’s A&E, re-route ‘blue light’ ambulances to Lincoln or Mansfield and close a medical ward.

A return trip between Newark and the proposed alternatives (Lincoln and/or Mansfield) would clock up a round trip of around 46 miles. With up to 50 patients or more at any time bedded at distant hospitals and assuming the average patient receives two vehicle visits a day, then we might calculate, the number of miles travelled to visit per annum at an astonishing 1,679,000 miles. If we were then to add the ambulance mileage for transporting to and from Newark this figure would be close to two million miles.

The decision by NHS Nottinghamshire County flies in the face of what Nottingham Energy Partnership is trying to achieve locally as part of the NHS Sustainable Development Unit’s remit to reduce the 18 million tones of carbon created by the health service every year.

Newark MP Patrick Mercer said this is just another reason why NHS Nottinghamshire should come to its senses and reverse its decision of 17th June:

‘We are all committed to reducing the carbon footprint and this is another factor that NHS Nottinghamshire County will need to explain in their decision to downgrade services at Newark Hospital. I wait their explanation with great interest.’

In response to the Secretary of State’s four criteria for when NHS organisations make changes to services (http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/MediaCentre/Pressreleases/DH_116290), the Save Newark Hospital Campaign claims NHS Nottinghamshire County does indeed provide insufficient assurance that the four tests have been properly applied.

Commenting Newark MP Patrick Mercer said:

There is little doubt that the consultation process must be urgently reviewed by the Government. It is crucial that services are not reduced in a town whose population is expanding. It’s clear to me that the whole process leading to NHS Nottinghamshire’s decision to downgrade Newark’s A&E department, close a medical ward and re-route blue light ambulance services away from the towns hospital must be properly scrutinised.’

- ends –

Editors Notes

NHS Nottinghamshire County’s Decision  

NHS Nottinghamshire County decided last week (Thursday 17 June):

  • A 24 hour Minor Injuries Unit ‘plus’ (option 1 above) by 1st October 2010[1]
  • Reduction in medical beds to be agreed approximately 56 to 32 with effect from 1st April 2011 meaning ‘Newark Hospital will have two wards vacant’[2]
  • The hospital will now not accept medical emergencies – all blue-light emergencies will go to Lincoln (first) or King’s Mill (if previous history)[3]

What the Proposal Means in Reality

In the consultation document NHS Nottinghamshire County says under option one ‘this means that we could provide the same level of care that is currently available at Newark’[4]. NHS Nottinghamshire County claims it is merely changing the name from A&E to a minor injuries unit. Yet the hospital has been operating an A&E department because, until now, it has accepted blue light ambulance services and is staffed with specialist A&E consultants.

NHS Nottinghamshire County only collected 700 responses to its Consultation, and 500 of those followed a rushed telephone poll just before the consultation had closed due to the poor response. Local people were never given a chance to vote for retaining the A&E department, because the ‘missing option 3’ wasn’t included within the Consultation Document. 

The ‘Missing Option 3’

Retain Newark Hospital’s fully operational Emergency Care Centre where an integrated emergency service will provide comprehensive care to all but the most seriously ill, or those requiring immediate and direct access to specialist centres, far in excess of the 85% of potential patients currently proposed by NHS Nottinghamshire County.

 What the Consultation Document Offered for Comment

Option 1: Minor Injuries Unit ‘Plus’ 24/7 – a minor injuries unit (MIU) staffed by doctors and specially trained nurses to treat people with minor injuries such as broken bones and minor illnesses. There would be access to x-ray and other testing equipment. A direct online link to other centres would allow the results to be read by experts who would give immediate advice if necessary. An out of hours GP service would also be available. This service would treat 85% of patients with the other 15% taken directly to another hospital by ambulance.

Option 2: Minor Injuries Unit ‘Plus’ 7am-midnight – this would be the same as Option 1, but only open between 7am and midnight, with out-of-hours GP cover enhanced (local GPs prefer this option, but there is a conflict of interest because they would gain financially – the cost of patients visiting A&E comes out of their budget).

 


[1] http://www.nnotts.nhs.uk/content/showcontent.aspx?contentid=15797 (page 5)

[2] http://www.nnotts.nhs.uk/content/showcontent.aspx?contentid=15799 (page 73) and http://www.nnotts.nhs.uk/content/showcontent.aspx?contentid=15802 (Transition & Implementation Plan 2010 page 1)

[3] http://www.nnotts.nhs.uk/content/showcontent.aspx?contentid=15799 (page 53)

[4] http://www.nottspct.nhs.uk/images/stories/My_Voice/newarkconsult_1109.pdf page 15

The Newark MP Patrick Mercer is this morning (Friday 25th June) to ask the Health Secretary to ‘call in’ the whole consultation process over the town’s A&E department. Mr Mercer said he is ‘thoroughly fed up’ with the PCT, NHS Nottinghamshire County, for misleading him and his constituents over the plans for Newark Hospital.

NHS Nottinghamshire County claimed in its consultation document that the changes ‘could provide the same level of care that is currently available at Newark’[1].

Mr Mercer said:  

‘NHS Nottinghamshire County assured me it was merely changing the name of Newark hospital’s A&E department. Clearly the re-routing of all ‘blue light’ emergencies away from Newark, and the closure of a surgical ward is a fundamental change of services. I can no longer trust NHS Nottinghamshire County and it’s therefore time for the whole process to be scrutinised by the Health Secretary.’

 Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust, which provides services at Newark, issued a memo to staff on the changes (attached). The memo hints at the fact that the Trust is at loggerheads with NHS Nottinghamshire County, which commissions services, over what should be provided at Newark.

                                       – Ends - 

 Editors Notes

NHS Nottinghamshire County’s Decision  

NHS Nottinghamshire County decided last week (Thursday 17 June):

  • A 24 hour Minor Injuries Unit ‘plus’ (option 1 above) by 1st October 2010[2]
  • Reduction in medical beds to be agreed approximately 56 to 32 with effect from 1st April 2011 meaning ‘Newark Hospital will have two wards vacant’[3]
  • The hospital will now not accept medical emergencies – all blue-light emergencies will go to Lincoln (first) or King’s Mill (if previous history)[4]

What the Proposal Means in Reality

In the consultation document NHS Nottinghamshire County says under option one ‘this means that we could provide the same level of care that is currently available at Newark’[5]. NHS Nottinghamshire County claims it is merely changing the name from A&E to a minor injuries unit. Yet the hospital has been operating an A&E department because, until now, it has accepted blue light ambulance services and is staffed with specialist A&E consultants.

NHS Nottinghamshire County only collected 700 responses to its Consultation, and 500 of those followed a rushed telephone poll just before the consultation had closed due to the poor response. Local people were never given a chance to vote for retaining the A&E department, because the ‘missing option 3’ wasn’t included within the Consultation Document. 

The ‘Missing Option 3’

Retain Newark Hospital’s fully operational Emergency Care Centre where an integrated emergency service will provide comprehensive care to all but the most seriously ill, or those requiring immediate and direct access to specialist centres, far in excess of the 85% of potential patients currently proposed by NHS Nottinghamshire County.

 What the Consultation Document Offered for Comment

Option 1: Minor Injuries Unit ‘Plus’ 24/7 – a minor injuries unit (MIU) staffed by doctors and specially trained nurses to treat people with minor injuries such as broken bones and minor illnesses. There would be access to x-ray and other testing equipment. A direct online link to other centres would allow the results to be read by experts who would give immediate advice if necessary. An out of hours GP service would also be available. This service would treat 85% of patients with the other 15% taken directly to another hospital by ambulance.

Option 2: Minor Injuries Unit ‘Plus’ 7am-midnight – this would be the same as Option 1, but only open between 7am and midnight, with out-of-hours GP cover enhanced (local GPs prefer this option, but there is a conflict of interest because they would gain financially – the cost of patients visiting A&E comes out of their budget).

 


[1] http://www.nottspct.nhs.uk/images/stories/My_Voice/newarkconsult_1109.pdf page 15

[2] http://www.nnotts.nhs.uk/content/showcontent.aspx?contentid=15797 (page 5)

[3] http://www.nnotts.nhs.uk/content/showcontent.aspx?contentid=15799 (page 73) and http://www.nnotts.nhs.uk/content/showcontent.aspx?contentid=15802 (Transition & Implementation Plan 2010 page 1)

[4] http://www.nnotts.nhs.uk/content/showcontent.aspx?contentid=15799 (page 53)

[5] http://www.nottspct.nhs.uk/images/stories/My_Voice/newarkconsult_1109.pdf page 15

The health minister Simon Burns is to intervene in what is being seen as a test case for the Coalition Government over the future of A&E departments. It follows NHS Nottinghamshire County’s decision last week to downgrade Newark’s Accident and Emergency Department, close a medical ward, and re-route ‘blue light’ ambulances to Lincoln or Mansfield some 20 miles away.

The Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, on taking office said A&E departments should not be forced to close against the will of local doctors and patients[1]. Yet NHS Nottinghamshire County’s consultation document did not include the option to retain current A&E services[2].

Newark MP, Patrick Mercer, says NHS Nottinghamshire County has misled both him and the general public:

‘The Health Minister has responded with such speed to my request to step in that it indicates the urgency of the problem. I have no doubt his visit (on 1st July) will help to resolve the new difficulties we face with the consultation process and its good to see a minister rolling his sleeves up and getting involved.’ 

Mr Mercer says he will demand the Department of Health pull in the consultation unless the hospital’s emergency department and associated services are retained, the proposed medical ward closure is withdrawn, and ‘blue light’ emergency services are reinstated to Newark.

                                      – ends - 

 

Editors Notes

NHS Nottinghamshire County’s Decision  

NHS Nottinghamshire County decided last week (Thursday 17 June):

  • A 24 hour Minor Injuries Unit ‘plus’ (option 1 above) by 1st October 2010[3]
  • Reduction in medical beds to be agreed approximately 56 to 32 with effect from 1st April 2011 meaning ‘Newark Hospital will have two wards vacant’[4]
  • The hospital will now not accept medical emergencies – all blue-light emergencies will go to Lincoln (first) or King’s Mill (if previous history)[5]

What the Proposal Means in Reality

In the consultation document NHS Nottinghamshire County says under option one ‘this means that we could provide the same level of care that is currently available at Newark’[6]. NHS Nottinghamshire County claims it is merely changing the name from A&E to a minor injuries unit. Yet the hospital has been operating an A&E department because, until now, it has accepted blue light ambulance services and is staffed with specialist A&E consultants.

NHS Nottinghamshire County only collected 700 responses to its Consultation, and 500 of those followed a rushed telephone poll just before the consultation had closed due to the poor response. Local people were never given a chance to vote for retaining the A&E department, because the ‘missing option 3’ wasn’t included within the Consultation Document. 

The ‘Missing Option 3’

Retain Newark Hospital’s fully operational Emergency Care Centre where an integrated emergency service will provide comprehensive care to all but the most seriously ill, or those requiring immediate and direct access to specialist centres, far in excess of the 85% of potential patients currently proposed by NHS Nottinghamshire County.

What the Consultation Document Offered for Comment

Option 1: Minor Injuries Unit ‘Plus’ 24/7 – a minor injuries unit (MIU) staffed by doctors and specially trained nurses to treat people with minor injuries such as broken bones and minor illnesses. There would be access to x-ray and other testing equipment. A direct online link to other centres would allow the results to be read by experts who would give immediate advice if necessary. An out of hours GP service would also be available. This service would treat 85% of patients with the other 15% taken directly to another hospital by ambulance.

Option 2: Minor Injuries Unit ‘Plus’ 7am-midnight – this would be the same as Option 1, but only open between 7am and midnight, with out-of-hours GP cover enhanced (local GPs prefer this option, but there is a conflict of interest because they would gain financially – the cost of patients visiting A&E comes out of their budget).

 


[1] http://www.savenewarkhospital.org.uk/?p=210

[2] http://www.nottspct.nhs.uk/images/stories/My_Voice/newarkconsult_1109.pdf

[3] http://www.nnotts.nhs.uk/content/showcontent.aspx?contentid=15797 (page 5)

[4] http://www.nnotts.nhs.uk/content/showcontent.aspx?contentid=15799 (page 73) and http://www.nnotts.nhs.uk/content/showcontent.aspx?contentid=15802 (Transition & Implementation Plan 2010 page 1)

[5] http://www.nnotts.nhs.uk/content/showcontent.aspx?contentid=15799 (page 53)

[6] http://www.nottspct.nhs.uk/images/stories/My_Voice/newarkconsult_1109.pdf page 15

Campaign Ballot Outstrips Formal Consultation Response

A ballot organised by the Save Newark Hospital Campaign has gained a staggering 131 responses in just four hours – all wanting the A&E function to be retained. It took NHS Nottinghamshire County six months to gain just 263 responses to its public consultation.

NHS Nottinghamshire County’s Board is due to make its decision over the future of Newark Hospital’s A&E at lunchtime (Thursday 17th June). It’s widely expected that the Board will decide on an ‘Urgent Care Centre’.

Commenting Save Newark Hospital’s Campaign Chair, Dr Ian Campbell said:

‘The whole consultation process has been a complete sham. It was clear NHS Nottinghamshire County were never going to listen to what the people of Newark and its villages wanted. The proposed Urgent Care Centre is a Minor Injuries Unit in all but name and clearly not what the people want, or need. It’s the thin end of the wedge for Newark Hospital.’

Editors Notes

Background

Options for A&E

Option 1: Minor Injuries Unit ‘Plus’ 24/7 – a minor injuries unit (MIU) staffed by doctors and specially trained nurses to treat people with minor injuries such as broken bones and minor illnesses. There would be access to x-ray and other testing equipment. A direct online link to other centres would allow the results to be read by experts who would give immediate advice if necessary. An out of hours GP service would also be available. This service would treat 85% of patients with the other 15% taken directly to another hospital by ambulance.

Option 2: Minor Injuries Unit ‘Plus’ 7am-midnight – this would be the same as Option 1, but only open between 7am and midnight, with out-of-hours GP cover enhanced.

Options for the Friary Ward

Option 1: Close Friary Ward permanently and use existing in-patient assessment beds at Ashfield Community Hospital, Lincoln or Grantham.

Option 2: Close Friary Ward permanently and transfer challenging behaviour beds to Ashfield Community Hospital and develop a small ‘step-down’ unit in Newark.

Both options would include providing NHS day services at Byron House, Newark, and developing community services to enable more people to be supported at home longer.

The Missing ‘Option 3’: Return Newark Hospital to a fully operational Emergency Care Centre where an integrated emergency service will provide comprehensive care to all but the most seriously ill, or those requiring immediate and direct access to specialist centres, far in excess of the 85% of potential patients currently proposed by NHS Nottinghamshire County (discussed in detail within this document)

Friary Ward should be re-opened to provide a healthcare for the elderly unit or as a fourth general medical ward. This could provide an additional 15 beds. Byron House should provide NHS day services and a further development of the community services that would enable more people to be supported at home

To download this press release in pdf format please visit our downloads page.

To view the full positioning document please click here.

Newark Hospital Consultation Fails Government Guidance

The Campaign to Save Newark Hospital says NHS Nottinghamshire County never had any intention of following what local people wanted and is calling for every household in the town to be balloted over the future of the town’s A&E department and Friary Ward.

It follows the Campaign’s Chair, Dr Ian Campbell, being told by NHS Nottinghamshire County that the Campaign’s positioning document will not be considered as part of the consultation process.

But the Campaign has discovered that NHS Nottinghamshire County, which is in charge of the consultation process, has itself failed to consult according to government guidance.

Results of public consultation on the future of Newark Hospital are to be presented to NHS Nottinghamshire County today (Thursday 27th May), with a decision made at an extraordinary board meeting on 17th June. The general public was asked to consider two options for the future of the Hospital’s A&E department; and two for the future of Friary Ward (see Editors Notes).

But the Campaign believes the NHS Nottinghamshire County consultation process has been fundamentally flawed, was in places misleading, and has failed to adhere to government guidance[1] on the following points:

Criterion 1: When to consultFormal consultation should take place at a stage when there is scope to influence the policy outcome.

The consultation has taken place too late in the planning cycle.  There has been no opportunity to influence policy outcomes. The public has been presented with two predetermined options from which to choose, not asked for their open opinion on the future of services at Newark Hospital.

Criterion 3: Clarity of scope and impactConsultation documents should be clear about the consultation process, what is being proposed, the scope to influence and the expected costs and benefits of the proposals.

Whilst the consultation document is clear about what is being proposed, the consultation is biased and misleading (see ‘Clinical Argument’ Page 7, Save Newark Hospital Campaign Positioning Document).

Criterion 4: Accessibility of consultation exercisesConsultation exercises should be designed to be accessible to, and clearly targeted at, those people the exercise is intended to reach.

The consultation has not been clearly targeted and has failed to reach its target population as indicated by the low response rate (see Criterion 6 below). This would not be unusual if we did not already know that people in Newark care deeply about this issue. This therefore suggests that people did not feel confident in the process, in the absence of a third option. Government guidance suggests that if there is no choice then a different method of communication should be used (see Better Together page 75). We contend that the process has failed because the consultation has not been clearly targeted.

Criterion 6: Responsiveness of consultation exercisesConsultation responses should be analysed carefully and clear feedback should be provided to participants following the consultation.

Once published the analysis of the results requires careful scrutiny. The consultation document states that, “We are consulting the local community between 30 November 2009 and 6 March 2010 – and we want as many people as possible to contribute“. Only 263 responses, or just slightly more than 0.5%, had been received in the last few weeks before closure of the consultation and that a telephone canvassing operation was commissioned to raise a further 500 responses. It has not been made clear who responded to this telephone canvassing but it is unlikely to be representative of the same group of respondents who made their comments proactively and therefore may not be included as part of the Consultation response. The sample size, of less than 1% of the target population does not therefore present a statistically significant sample.

Criterion 7: Capacity to consultOfficials running consultations should seek guidance in how to run an effective consultation exercise and share what they have learned from the experience.

The consultation process should have stated that it would abide by the government guidelines on consultation in their documents. This has not been done.

Commenting the Campaign’s Chair, Dr Ian Campbell said: ‘It is absolutely clear that NHS Nottinghamshire County had made up its mind about the future of Newark Hospital before the consultation process even took place. Otherwise it would not have initiated such an inadequate consultation process.

It’s also clear to us that Sherwood Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust doesn’t agree with the proposals; the general public doesn’t agree with the proposals; and staff working at the hospital don’t agree with the proposals.

We urge NHS Nottinghamshire County to do the right thing and consult those that matter most by balloting every household in Newark so any decision taken on the future of the Hospital is truly representative.’

[1] ‘Better Together – Improving Consultation with the Third Sector’, Cabinet Office http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&client=firefoxa&hs=nFe&rls=org.mozilla%3AenUS%3Aofficial&channel=s&q=Better+Together+government+consultation+guidance&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=


Editors Notes

Background

Options for A&E

Option 1: Minor Injuries Unit ‘Plus’ 24/7 – a minor injuries unit (MIU) staffed by doctors and specially trained nurses to treat people with minor injuries such as broken bones and minor illnesses. There would be access to x-ray and other testing equipment. A direct online link to other centres would allow the results to be read by experts who would give immediate advice if necessary. An out of hours GP service would also be available. This service would treat 85% of patients with the other 15% taken directly to another hospital by ambulance.

Option 2: Minor Injuries Unit ‘Plus’ 7am-midnight – this would be the same as Option 1, but only open between 7am and midnight, with out-of-hours GP cover enhanced.

Options for the Friary Ward

Option 1: Close Friary Ward permanently and use existing in-patient assessment beds at Ashfield Community Hospital, Lincoln or Grantham.

Option 2: Close Friary Ward permanently and transfer challenging behaviour beds to Ashfield Community Hospital and develop a small ‘step-down’ unit in Newark.

Both options would include providing NHS day services at Byron House, Newark, and developing community services to enable more people to be supported at home longer.

The Missing ‘Option 3’: Return Newark Hospital to a fully operational Emergency Care Centre where an integrated emergency service will provide comprehensive care to all but the most seriously ill, or those requiring immediate and direct access to specialist centres, far in excess of the 85% of potential patients currently proposed by NHS Nottinghamshire County (discussed in detail within this document)

Friary Ward should be re-opened to provide a healthcare for the elderly unit or as a fourth general medical ward. This could provide an additional 15 beds. Byron House should provide NHS day services and a further development of the community services that would enable more people to be supported at home

Around 5,500 people who have signed up to 14 year old Cara Hansen’s Facebook petition to save Newark Hospital’s Accident and Emergency department have joined forces with the Save Newark Hospital Campaign (www.savenewarkhospital.org.uk).

 The hospital’s emergency services are threatened with being downgraded permanently to a minor injuries unit (MIU). Local resident and Nottingham GP Dr Ian Campbell MBE was asked at a public meeting last month to chair a non-political alliance of concerned residents, town councilors and health professionals in the fight for the hospital to return to a fully functioning A&E department capable of dealing with all accident and emergency cases.

 The Alliance opposes the downgrading of Newark A&E to a Minor Injuries Unit, and views recent proposals as the thin end of the wedge, which would lead to a gradual deterioration in the level of health services being provided at the Hospital.

 Cara Hansen, from Wright Street, Newark, and a pupil at the Magnus Church of England School, set up her Facebook petition because she says her family have benefited time and time again from the A&E department:

 “My mother collapsed with pneumonia 6 years ago at home when I was 8 years old. I had to call the ambulance. Mum pleaded to be taken to Newark Hospital. She knew she wouldn’t recover as quickly if she’d been taken to Kings Mill, Nottingham or Lincoln because we couldn’t have visited as much. People writing on my Facebook site all have similar stories.”

 Cara’s mother, Maria, who has provided technical support for Cara’s site said:

 “I had to take both my kids to A&E with breaks, cuts and bruises over the years and it would have been horrific if we’d have to have gone further afield. I spoke to our local MP, Patrick Mercer, to get his support when Cara set up the site. He said he couldn’t take sides while the public consultation was underway. I can’t believe he is now supporting downgrading our hospital.”

 In last week’s Newark Advertiser reported Mr Mercer “was nailing his colours to option two – a 24-hour minor injuries unit ‘plus’” and that “assurances have been made that any savings as a result of the healthcare review would be reinvested in Newark”.

 Maria added:

 “Regardless of what Mr Mercer or any other politician says, the downgrading of our valuable resource has started through the back door, with the removal of services such as the blood checking service being transferred to Kings Mill.”

Press Release

Comments off

The following press release has been sent to news organisations today, Tuesday 23rd March 2010:

The Save Newark Hospital Campaign was officially launched on Monday 22nd March 2010. Following on from the public meeting held on 15th March keyattendees from that meeting met to discuss formalisation of the alliance, which is made up of concerned residents, town counillors and health professionals.

The group oppose the downgrading of Newark Accident and Emergency to a Minor Injuries Unit and are fighting for the reversal of previous service losses such as the closure of the Friary Ward. They view recent proposals as the thin end of the wedge which will lead to a gradual deterioration in the level of health services being provided at Newark Hospital. The Group intends to make its views widely known to the people of Newark and the surrounding area and to raise sufficient funds to conduct wide ranging canvassing of public opinion over the next few weeks.

In order to be as transparentand accountable as possible it was agreed that the Group needed to have a formal structure, constitution and officials. Dr Ian Campbell was asked to Chair the new group and Mr Chris Howes agreed to be the Treasurer.

Dr Campbell said “These proposals ultimately threaten the existence of Newark Hospital as we know it, and would tear at the very heart of the community. Time is running out to send a firm message to the decision makers that we are not prepared to accept anything less than a first class NHS in Newark. And that means a fully functioning A&E Department. It’s time to make our voices heard.”

Further information about the campaign can be found at www.savenewarkhospital.org.uk. Since  the public meeting on 15th March almost £500 has been raised by voluntary donation to support the campaign. Those wishing to send donations are asked to send cheques made payable to “Save Newark Hospital Campaign” to the Treasurer, Mr Chris Howes of 17 The Maltsters, Newark, NG24 4RU, who is able to accept donations on behalf of the campaign.

—-Ends—–