Save Newark Hospital

Protecting Newark Healthcare Jobs and Services

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

Click on the poster to download, print and display itClick on the poster to download, print and display it

Click on the poster to download, print and display it

The new Government may have thrown Newark Hospital a lifeline if the new Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is to be believed. Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday Mr Lansley stated that the Government will “stop the removal of local services where … it has not been justified by clinical evidence… where there has not been the public involvement and engagement that really is necessary and where GPs as local commissioners of services have not been engaged”.

Which of these conditions apply to services at Newark Hospital? In the opinion of the Save Newark Hospital Campaign all of them apply and over the next few weeks we will tell you why.

To hear the full Andrew Lansley interview please visit the Today programme website at http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8679000/8679414.stm. The important bit starts at around 9 minutes in.

A selection of photographs from the Human Chain Around Newark Hospital have been added to our Photo Gallery. Please click here to view the photographs.

Thank you to everyone who turned out in the rain and wind today. You helped make our Human Chain Around Newark Hospital a huge success. The powers that be can be in no doubt that the people of Newark won’t let them destroy Newark Hospital.

Check back soon for more information about the protest and make sure you watch Central News and East Midlands Today as they both had camera teams at the hospital today.

We look forward to welcoming you as part of the Human Chain Around Newark Hospital on Monday May 3rd at 12.00 Noon. To make sure that the event is as successful as possible please remember these five simple rules:

1. Please be on time, no later than 12.00 Noon but ideally a few minutes before.

2. Please respect the neighbours, patients, staff and visitors to the hospital. If possible please walk to the event or get someone to drop you off. The nearest parking is on London Road.

3. When you arrive at the hospital come to the main gate to receive further instructions.

4. There will be 10 stewards wearing hi-vis tops or jackets placed strategically around the perimeter of the Hospital to help organize the event.

5. Once the Chain is complete the demonstration will disperse. Please leave the area quickly, quietly and safely.

For more information please e-mail helpus@savenewarkhospital.org.uk.

See you on Monday!

At 12 o’clock mid-day on Monday 3rd May 2010 local people who care about the future of Newark Hospital are asked to help form a Human Chain around the Hospital.

This symbolic act is intended to demonstrate how strongly local people feel about the gradual downgrading of services at Newark.

As soon as the Chain is complete the demonstration will be over and the Chain will break up so please be there on time and bring along anyone you know who has been helped, treated or would like to continue to be treated at Newark Hospital.

Check back soon for more details.

Don’t forget tonight’s peaceful protest at Southwell Minster School where the Churches Together Election Hustings is being held. Please meet at 6.15pm at the school entrance.

As a special bonus to mark our first official protest here is the first in a series of interesting facts about the hospital:

Things you didn’t know about Newark Hospital – 1

In one year if only one person per week is treated at Nottingham, Mansfield or Lincoln rather than Newark Hospital and they stay for a week and are visited twice a day their visitors will do enough miles to travel around the world once.

Don’t believe us? Work it out for yourself – 1 person x 2 visits x 7 days in  a week x 52 weeks in a year x 40 mile round trip = 29,120 miles. Moving services to other hospitals might be a money saving exercise for the PCT but it certainly isn’t the environmentally friendly option!!!

There will a peaceful protest in support of the Save Newark Hospital Campaign before the hustings event on Thursday evening at Southwell Minster School. 

Please join us so we can make a major statement to the candidates and the press. Please be at Southwell Minster School, Nottingham Road, Southwell at 6.15pm on Thursday evening.

If you need any further information please e-mail helpus@savenewarkhospital.org.uk.