Not true. No decisions have been made. We are still developing our detailed proposals.
In 2013, through a programme of formal public consultation lasting at least 12 weeks, we will be asking everyone in the South East Midlands to comment on those proposals. There will be no decisions until everyone’s feedback has been taken into account.
Not true. We are still considering a range of models of care because we need to be confident that we are taking forward the best possible solution for the population of 1.6 million and rising who live in the South East Midlands. We will not decide location options until we are confident we have the right models of care.
We understand this is very important for local people and are committed to a continuing a full and open debate.
Not true. The evidencetells us that many simpler procedures could be delivered closer to patients’ homes while some more complex, specialist procedures would be concentrated on centres of excellence. That would mean that while some patients would face longer journeys if they require higher levels of specialist care the majority could face the same or shorter journeys as more care is delivered locally.
We believe that this approach is consistent with what local people and patients have been telling us – that securing the quality and safety of services is the most important factor. The aim is to provide the right level of care in the right place at the right time.
In future, we will need fewer hospital beds because advances in treatment mean that more patients will be able to be treated as day cases or outpatients. Fewer patients will need to be admitted. This will happen with or without the Healthier Together programme.
One of the biggest challenges that our five hospitals face is in recruiting and retaining hospital staff with the right skills and experiences. For example, there is a national shortage of A&E consultants. Hospitals have advertised vacancies but have been unable to attract suitable candidates.
There are national training initiatives in place to bridge the skills gap but this will take up to ten years.
Healthier Together is about making the most of our existing resources. It is not about looking for ways to cut jobs.
There are more of us and we are living for longer. Hospitals are already struggling to cope with current demand. We need to look at new ways to meet these challenges.
We need to improve the safety and quality of services in several key areas. For example, none of our hospitals currently meets recommended staffing levels in A&E and maternity. There is strong medical evidence that patients are better served if some specialist treatments are provided by fewer but bigger units.
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