Later today Anne-Marie has a meeting with the Health Secretary about Rothbury Hospital. Below is an update on the campaign so far:
Back in March 2017 Anne-Marie secured a debate in Parliament in which she laid out why she believes Rothbury should retain inpatient beds. That speech is HERE.
Her submission to the NHS consultation on the decision is HERE which also offers an overview on her position.
Since the consultation, she has raised this issue both with Health Ministers (HERE) and earlier this year with the Prime Minister (HERE).
She has been working in close conjunction with the wonderful Save Rothbury Hospital group who have been in favour of an independent review, and Anne-Marie supported their call for that, which has now taken place.
Recently, a new Health Secretary has been appointed, and he made a speech at Conservative Party Conference this year in which he said: “What I mean by this, is that the era of moving all activity into fewer larger hospitals…and blindly, invariably, closing community hospitals……that era is over. I want more services closer to the communities they serve.”
Anne-Marie was heartened by what he said, and although the Rothbury decision is one taken locally by the NHS, not by Ministers, he has agreed to meet her to hear me make the case once more for Rothbury.
In advance of the meeting, Matt Hancock has written to the CCG setting out that he expects everyone to go back to the drawing board. He has been critical of the way in which the CCG conducted the public consultation (which did not include retaining the inpatient ward as an option) and has instructed them to now work alongside the Council’s Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the future of the hospital. He has also instructed the CCG and the NHS Trust to work with the local community to decide on the future of health services in Rothbury.
The Secretary of State has also insisted they consider the impact (cost, travel, inconvenience) for patients, and their families and carers of closing the inpatient ward, something Anne-Marie has argued for very strongly since the 2016 closure and I am thrilled he has understood my arguments about rurality being a key factor.
Crucially, the Secretary of State has insisted that re-opening the inpatient ward should remain an option and form part of the consideration and impact assessment work carried out, all of which must now be overseen by Healthwatch – the independent national champion for health and social care services.
Anne-Marie is very much heartened by this intervention from the Secretary of State, and will use her meeting with him to thank him and to reiterate the importance of services remaining in Rothbury, and in all our rural communities.