Graham Stuart MP and Sir Greg Knight MP call for referral of MIU decision to Secretary of State
Graham Stuart MP and Sir Greg Knight MP have jointly condemned East Riding Clinical Commissioning Group for failing to listen to the voices of people in the East Riding and have written to the Chairman of the Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee to urge the Committee to refer the matter to the Health Secretary.
In a blow to all those who campaigned to save the Minor Injuries Units in Hornsea, Withernsea and Driffield, the CCG has announced today it is set to go ahead with the closures in all three towns, as well as the removal of community beds from Withernsea and Bridlington.
The MPs’ letter reads:
21 March 2017
East Riding Clinical Commissioning Group’s Urgent Care Strategy
Further to today’s board meeting of East Riding CCG and its adoption of the new urgent care strategy, we are writing to request that the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee should exercise its right to refer the plans to the Secretary of State for Health.
The CCG’s decision lets down residents of both the Beverley and Holderness and East Yorkshire constituencies. Local people have been clear from the outset of this process that they do not want to see the Minor Injuries Units in Driffield, Hornsea and Withernsea close and to be forced to make long journeys on winding country roads to access treatment for things like cuts and sprains.
This is particularly the case because many of our constituents are elderly and have complex health needs. They are poorly equipped to travel from (for example) Withernsea to Hull, a round trip of some forty miles. We have also been contacted by the parents of young children who hold similar concerns – as well as by local schools who would regret the loss of their nearby MIUs bitterly. The problems with the centralisation of care envisaged by the CCG are compounded by the limited availability of public transport.
We continue to be concerned that the upshot of removing local minor injuries care will be greater pressure on both the already hard-pressed Accident and Emergency unit at Hull Royal Infirmary and Yorkshire Ambulance Service, which would not benefit anyone and could put lives at risk.
Separately, we are also opposed to the removal of community beds from both Bridlington and Withernsea Hospitals. These beds provide an important service to local people and allow patients to receive treatment close to home. People do not want to be stranded miles from their friends and relatives when they are in hospital. Whilst every effort should be made to encourage and support patients who can leave hospital to do so, “time to think” beds cannot be a substitute for good local hospital care.
The survey conducted by the CCG as part of its consultation found very limited public support for the package of proposals, despite a number of very leading questions. In Holderness, for instance, 90% of people did not agree with the question asking whether they would be prepared to travel further to visit an Urgent Care Centre.
Over ten thousand people have signed petitions opposing the reconfiguration proposed by the CCG. Hundreds of people have attended public rallies. Local GPs in Holderness have expressed their own opposition to the reorganisation, as have town and parish councils.
We are deeply disappointed that the CCG has ignored all these voices and decided to approve the plans today. The decision to withdraw minor injuries cover from Hornsea Hospital is widely regarded as a betrayal of the community. Having spoken to local people, the concessions that have been made regarding the availability of some reserved appointments for minor injuries at Withernsea and Driffield Hospitals have not reassured the public there about the level of cover that will be available.
We hope your Committee will take the opportunity of its next meeting to refer the matter formally to the Health Secretary so that he can ask the Independent Reconfiguration Panel to review the proposals and assess whether they will deliver safe, sustainable and accessible services for local people.
Graham Stuart MP and Sir Greg Knight MP
March 16th, 2017