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21st June 2012
Steve Lowden chairs the Patient & Public Advisory Group
The last few weeks have been very busy, with over 110 clinicians including hospital consultants, GPs, nurses and public health experts looking at how we should deliver and maintain quality healthcare services in the South East Midlands.
This is not an easy task and it needs to be thought through very carefully. It seems likely that any changes will need to be implemented over a three-to-five year period, but they should provide a level of sustainability for 10-plus years.
What is clear is that the case for change has been well made. From mid-July we expect to be able to start sharing and engaging with staff and the public on proposed models of care. Putting it simply, what providing care closer to home and developing centres of excellence for some specialist health services could look like.
Throughout this process the Patient and Public Advisory Group, made up of 30 members of the public, have been kept in the loop and have commented on progress, as have the Health and Well-being Boards, NHS Trusts and the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
No one likes change for change’s sake and any changes that are proposed will need to have a firm evidence base. We are committed to ensuring that a full public consultation will take place later in the year so that everyone can have his or her say. However I hope that the debate we will have will focus on facts and not emotion.
No hospitals will close. Northampton, Kettering, Milton Keynes, Luton & Dunstable and Bedford will all continue to provide most local services
All five hospitals will have an A&E and maternity service
Our first priority is safe, sustainable, high quality services
Our recommendations will be based on clinical evidence and local need