Health authority claim dismissed

LAUNCHING its vision for the future, Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire strategic health authority claimed the improvement in today's NHS has been “tremendous”.

LAUNCHING its vision for the future, Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire strategic health authority claimed the improvement in today's NHS has been “tremendous”.

Despite still trying to claw back a debt that stood at almost £75million earlier this year by closing hospitals and wards and cutting jobs in Suffolk, the SHA today stood by its claim.

As the consultation process to revamp the NHS in East Anglia gets under way, it has become clear that whatever happens there is to be a whole-scale regionalisation of the health service's structure.

Set against this backdrop is the SHAs upbeat view of the health service, which has reached financial meltdown in Suffolk.

It is certainly not an opinion shared by those campaigning against cuts in the county.

As part of its public consultation briefing document, the SHA said: “Thanks to record money, reform of the way we do things and the dedication and commitment of hundreds of thousands of staff, the NHS has improved immensely. The period 2000-2005 has seen the biggest improvements to NHS services in decades.

Most Read

“We are now half way through that 10-year plan. The improvement has been tremendous. We are on the cusp of a transformation.

“For example, we now have thousands of extra clinicians. Every bit of the NHS has more staff. We are replacing old buildings. All over England, there are new hospitals or surgeries, new wards, new equipment and more beds.

“Waiting times have fallen to their lowest in a generation, A&Es have transformed, patients are guaranteed to see GPs and other doctors much quicker.

“Local people are better at running local services so we have been gradually transferring responsibilities for running health services to local people. This has included passing more than 80 per cent of the health service budget to local Primary Care Trusts.

“There are too many patients being admitted to hospital because the care that they could have received - might have preferred to receive at home - simply isn't available in the right way at the right time.”

Asked how this view squared with the current crisis facing Suffolk's health service, Jayne Ashworth, communications manager Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority said: “The future of hospitals like the Bartlet (under threat in Felixstowe) is in question not because the health service cannot afford to keep them going, but because there may be better ways to spend the money.

“It is better to take the services to people in their own homes rather than admit them to hospital.

“People who work there are being advised to look at what other jobs are on offer because that is standard good human resources practice when an organisation is in a state of change.”

>

The options for consultation are:

Suffolk Health Authority - preferred option for Eastern Region SHA coterminous with government offices for the East of England, combining Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire, Essex and Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

Ambulance - preferred option for an Eastern Region Ambulance Trust, combining Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, Essex and Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

Primary Care Trusts

Option 1: Three Primary Care Trusts for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire

Norfolk PCT, Suffolk PCT, Cambridgeshire PCT including Peterborough

Option 2: Five Primary Care Trusts for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire

Great Yarmouth & Waveney, Norfolk PCT (excluding Great Yarmouth), Suffolk PCT (excluding Waveney), Peterborough PCT, Cambridgeshire PCT excluding Peterborough

The closing date for having your say is Wednesday 22 March 2006. Public consultation events will take place within the consultation period and will be advertised locally and on the SHA website (www.nscsha.nhs.uk ).

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter