Winchester hospital 'almost certain' to be downgraded in NHS shake-up

Hampshire Chronicle: Chief exec Mary Edwards believes the public are generally on board. Chief exec Mary Edwards believes the public are generally on board.

THE Royal Hampshire County Hospital looks almost certain to be downgraded, according to new proposals.

Health bosses had been considering several options as part of an NHS shake-up that would see specialist, consultant-led hospitals and Winchester had been considered as a potential site for a new ‘super hospital’. It has now been rejected on the basis of ‘site difficulties’.

The report that will be considered by Hampshire County Council next week (January 28) has whittled the options down to two. Both could see A&E and maternity units in the city downgraded.

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the RHCH, and Basingstoke and Andover hospitals, is arguing that a big expansion of Basingstoke’s current hospital is a viable option, or that an entirely new site could also be appropriate.

The latter could cost around £70million, and a patch of land between the A303, A34 and the M3 for ease of access, had been mooted.

Yesterday, a hospital spokeswoman said they could not comment on what form the plans would take, and said various options would have to be considered following a consultation.

Cllr Martin Tod sits on the county’s Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee that will consider the report.

He said: “I’m very concerned based on what I’ve read. Like everybody I know the NHS can’t stand still, but I do not yet see how the proposals are going to make things better.

“There are some tough questions that need to be asked - and not yet enough detail on what exactly is proposed. “Both options in the paper talk about 'investing in Winchester' but also refer to removing critical care services to Basingstoke or a new mid-Hampshire site.

“I also want to know what exactly this means for patients. Which patients will be affected - and how will they be affected. I want particular reassurance as to what the care will be for women who start their labour in the midwife unit in Winchester but then need extra medical intervention. Will this automatically mean being put into an ambulance and transferred to a new site?”

It is understood that regardless of where the centre is built, the services and facilities will be the same – around 300 beds treating 75,000 patients.

As reported, Winchester could be left with a walk-in unit for less serious A&E cases, and a midwife-led maternity unit for natural births only.

At present, about 3,000 women per year give birth at the RHCH which has the full range of obstetricians, paediatricians, anaesthetists and midwives.

Following a recent ‘public engagement’, a formal public consultation process will begin in February.

Mary Edwards, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals’ NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The public engagement shows us that most of the public recognise that it’s safer and better to have hospitals that specialise.”

Comments (8)

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8:17pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Anita1943 says...

Winchester Hospital needs a complete overhaul of its management and consulting senior doctors; As someone with a parent who has been in hospital since September 2012 and every time they say they are fit to be released end up being sent home, with: broken ankle, which had no been diagnosed despite the head injuries and broken arm; sent home with a needle still in the back of their hand; sent home half naked after they had lost their coat, keys to the house and other articles; discharged late at night and left to find own way home, even though having no money and living quite some distance from the hospital in a small village. Bus service stops at 7pm, and on top of this the patient has severe dementia. A complaint about the Senior Consultant over-seeing this patient to the Medical Council was rejected despite having a tape/cd from the Senior Consultant lying and being called out by someone representing the patient as to the lies she was telling in the meeting in front of other senior hospital officials. This is just a small part of what the family have endured from Winchester Hospital.
Winchester Hospital needs a complete overhaul of its management and consulting senior doctors; As someone with a parent who has been in hospital since September 2012 and every time they say they are fit to be released end up being sent home, with: broken ankle, which had no been diagnosed despite the head injuries and broken arm; sent home with a needle still in the back of their hand; sent home half naked after they had lost their coat, keys to the house and other articles; discharged late at night and left to find own way home, even though having no money and living quite some distance from the hospital in a small village. Bus service stops at 7pm, and on top of this the patient has severe dementia. A complaint about the Senior Consultant over-seeing this patient to the Medical Council was rejected despite having a tape/cd from the Senior Consultant lying and being called out by someone representing the patient as to the lies she was telling in the meeting in front of other senior hospital officials. This is just a small part of what the family have endured from Winchester Hospital. Anita1943

9:52am Fri 24 Jan 14

Lib Lob says...

The maternity services at RHCH are superb. Such a shame to tear apart a really functional department.
The maternity services at RHCH are superb. Such a shame to tear apart a really functional department. Lib Lob

5:50pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Leejams says...

The Ambulance Service is stretched to the limit as it is, dealing with emergency calls etc. If the maternity unit at R.H.C.H. is downgraded this will mean that transfers will take longer, thus tying up crews for longer and depriving the area of vital cover. The same applies to a downgraded A.&E. service.

As a result people suffering serious sudden illness or serious injury will have to wait longer for an ambulance to reach them, often to their severe detriment. And who will face criticism as a result? Why, the Ambulance Service of course and not the faceless bureaucrats who make these uncaring decisions just to save money in order to show how good they are at their jobs.
The Ambulance Service is stretched to the limit as it is, dealing with emergency calls etc. If the maternity unit at R.H.C.H. is downgraded this will mean that transfers will take longer, thus tying up crews for longer and depriving the area of vital cover. The same applies to a downgraded A.&E. service. As a result people suffering serious sudden illness or serious injury will have to wait longer for an ambulance to reach them, often to their severe detriment. And who will face criticism as a result? Why, the Ambulance Service of course and not the faceless bureaucrats who make these uncaring decisions just to save money in order to show how good they are at their jobs. Leejams

9:27am Sat 25 Jan 14

winchres says...

Anita1943 wrote:
Winchester Hospital needs a complete overhaul of its management and consulting senior doctors; As someone with a parent who has been in hospital since September 2012 and every time they say they are fit to be released end up being sent home, with: broken ankle, which had no been diagnosed despite the head injuries and broken arm; sent home with a needle still in the back of their hand; sent home half naked after they had lost their coat, keys to the house and other articles; discharged late at night and left to find own way home, even though having no money and living quite some distance from the hospital in a small village. Bus service stops at 7pm, and on top of this the patient has severe dementia. A complaint about the Senior Consultant over-seeing this patient to the Medical Council was rejected despite having a tape/cd from the Senior Consultant lying and being called out by someone representing the patient as to the lies she was telling in the meeting in front of other senior hospital officials. This is just a small part of what the family have endured from Winchester Hospital.
One would hope that you are exaggerating, but unfortunately I do believe it is only part of the story, it does seem that those less able to speak out for themselves can be neglected. I hope you have raised this with PALS, don't accept the first whitewash response, keep going until it is referred to the senior staff concerned and they arrange a meeting with the family to answer questions and things are recorded appropriately.
[quote][p][bold]Anita1943[/bold] wrote: Winchester Hospital needs a complete overhaul of its management and consulting senior doctors; As someone with a parent who has been in hospital since September 2012 and every time they say they are fit to be released end up being sent home, with: broken ankle, which had no been diagnosed despite the head injuries and broken arm; sent home with a needle still in the back of their hand; sent home half naked after they had lost their coat, keys to the house and other articles; discharged late at night and left to find own way home, even though having no money and living quite some distance from the hospital in a small village. Bus service stops at 7pm, and on top of this the patient has severe dementia. A complaint about the Senior Consultant over-seeing this patient to the Medical Council was rejected despite having a tape/cd from the Senior Consultant lying and being called out by someone representing the patient as to the lies she was telling in the meeting in front of other senior hospital officials. This is just a small part of what the family have endured from Winchester Hospital.[/p][/quote]One would hope that you are exaggerating, but unfortunately I do believe it is only part of the story, it does seem that those less able to speak out for themselves can be neglected. I hope you have raised this with PALS, don't accept the first whitewash response, keep going until it is referred to the senior staff concerned and they arrange a meeting with the family to answer questions and things are recorded appropriately. winchres

4:17pm Sat 25 Jan 14

hampshirehog says...

As the population density slowly grows and our cities and towns gradually expand I am at a loss to understand Mary Edwards and her management team extolling the virtues of REDUCING the availability of emergency hospital cover. It appears that "Public Consultations" are by their vary methods limited in scope by the limited number and social makeup of those who are "consulted" and the "in favour" slanting of questions and proposals.
The composition of the Trust Board and the Councils of Governors leaves me in little doubt that the views of the "working man" and convenience of medical services will either not be sought or will be blithely ignored to meet the executive plans.
Winchester is too far from Basingstoke and Southampton to cater for emergency medical services to be diverted to those places, time factors tending to be critical in so many cases.
As has been shown in the Portsmouth area, the closure of smaller hospitals and the opening of a large super hospital at QA has not been a particular success from the point of view of citizen user.
Perhaps a change in the composition of the executives and the Boards to include a majority of "man in the street" members would persuade the Trust planners that service to the community must come first and not second to blithe planning.
As the population density slowly grows and our cities and towns gradually expand I am at a loss to understand Mary Edwards and her management team extolling the virtues of REDUCING the availability of emergency hospital cover. It appears that "Public Consultations" are by their vary methods limited in scope by the limited number and social makeup of those who are "consulted" and the "in favour" slanting of questions and proposals. The composition of the Trust Board and the Councils of Governors leaves me in little doubt that the views of the "working man" and convenience of medical services will either not be sought or will be blithely ignored to meet the executive plans. Winchester is too far from Basingstoke and Southampton to cater for emergency medical services to be diverted to those places, time factors tending to be critical in so many cases. As has been shown in the Portsmouth area, the closure of smaller hospitals and the opening of a large super hospital at QA has not been a particular success from the point of view of citizen user. Perhaps a change in the composition of the executives and the Boards to include a majority of "man in the street" members would persuade the Trust planners that service to the community must come first and not second to blithe planning. hampshirehog

9:07pm Sat 25 Jan 14

wheresthemoneygone says...

Mary Edwards, looking very smug, plainly lives on planet Middle-Class Wealth Ignorance and Arrogance.These people are largely privately insured (and privately educated).Why do we allow them to represent the general public who largely use the NHS?They simply push finance around to the benefit of themselves, politics,bureacracy and accountancy - and in the meantime aim to bamboozle the public as to what is actually going on.

If the general public were truly heard and listened to: they want a fully operable hospital with their essential needs attended to.Clearly effective A & E and maternity services are essential - so why are they being run down and removed?

I wish Wintonians would wake up, do we really want to travel to Southampton or Basingstoke every time we're ill?It's not hard to think about or are we going to continue to stick our heads in the sand.

The chances of serious injury or death will increase ( and have probably and already greatly increased) massively - if we were given the really important, actual statistics.Facilitie
s and opportunities for appropriate care will be run down to the levels of lesser developed nations. I fear the decadence of recent times, and the promotion of the monied-elite, is over-riding and destroying democracy, care and common sense.The Middle-Classes don't care they're already sorted.The public are merely seen as scum to them.
Mary Edwards, looking very smug, plainly lives on planet Middle-Class Wealth Ignorance and Arrogance.These people are largely privately insured (and privately educated).Why do we allow them to represent the general public who largely use the NHS?They simply push finance around to the benefit of themselves, politics,bureacracy and accountancy - and in the meantime aim to bamboozle the public as to what is actually going on. If the general public were truly heard and listened to: they want a fully operable hospital with their essential needs attended to.Clearly effective A & E and maternity services are essential - so why are they being run down and removed? I wish Wintonians would wake up, do we really want to travel to Southampton or Basingstoke every time we're ill?It's not hard to think about or are we going to continue to stick our heads in the sand. The chances of serious injury or death will increase ( and have probably and already greatly increased) massively - if we were given the really important, actual statistics.Facilitie s and opportunities for appropriate care will be run down to the levels of lesser developed nations. I fear the decadence of recent times, and the promotion of the monied-elite, is over-riding and destroying democracy, care and common sense.The Middle-Classes don't care they're already sorted.The public are merely seen as scum to them. wheresthemoneygone

11:21pm Mon 27 Jan 14

Mrsc24 says...

In response to the above, in an emergency it does't matter if you are upper, middle or lower class, insured up the eyeballs - we all end up in the same ambulances going to the same A&E.

How can they be content with growing the Winchester population at the unsustainable rate at which they are and yet be also content to move key health and life saving services further away? What planet are these people on? Certainly not one concerned with the good or thoughts of the general public - more likely their budgets so they can continue to overpay certain powerful staff.

I love the quote in the article that Mary Edwards believes the public are generally on board - what public has she asked? I seriously can not imagine anyone being pleased that key healthcare services are now going to be a 25 minute+ journey rather than a 5 minute journey. Just playing the PR game - badly.
In response to the above, in an emergency it does't matter if you are upper, middle or lower class, insured up the eyeballs - we all end up in the same ambulances going to the same A&E. How can they be content with growing the Winchester population at the unsustainable rate at which they are and yet be also content to move key health and life saving services further away? What planet are these people on? Certainly not one concerned with the good or thoughts of the general public - more likely their budgets so they can continue to overpay certain powerful staff. I love the quote in the article that Mary Edwards believes the public are generally on board - what public has she asked? I seriously can not imagine anyone being pleased that key healthcare services are now going to be a 25 minute+ journey rather than a 5 minute journey. Just playing the PR game - badly. Mrsc24

11:22am Fri 31 Jan 14

wheresthemoneygone says...

In reply to the comment above: That's why we all need an effective and efficient A&E system (I guess you're privately insured).A & E is not just about unrelated, random accidents.A privately insured an individual is less likely to need it because of better general health care - have a look at the correlations between wealth, general health and longevity.Apart from that we seem to agree.
In reply to the comment above: That's why we all need an effective and efficient A&E system (I guess you're privately insured).A & E is not just about unrelated, random accidents.A privately insured an individual is less likely to need it because of better general health care - have a look at the correlations between wealth, general health and longevity.Apart from that we seem to agree. wheresthemoneygone

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