1,000 signatures reached
To: Sir David Amess MP James Duddridge MP Mark Francois MP Rebecca Harris MP Essex County Council and Southend Borough Council
Stop the Mid & South Essex STP downgrading Southend Hospital
We want our local MPs to oppose these hastily drawn up plans and our Councils to reject the Mid and South Essex STP and refer the ill-conceived and dangerous plans for our local health infrastructure back to the Secretary of State for Health. The residents in the Southend-on-sea hospital catchment demand a fully operational GENERAL hospital with facilities to treat all manner of complex emergency medical conditions and surgical emergencies.
Our local hospital and community health and social care systems require investment and expansion - not re-location of essential acute NHS services for our residents requiring timely and local care.
Why is this important?
The Government led Mid and South Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP - formerly known as Success Regime) are 'selling' their scheme to the public by stating that separation of emergency and planned (elective) care alongside the centralisation of emergency care facilities, will relieve the burden on the three hospitals in this area, thus improving patient outcomes and relieve the current bed shortages, financial and recruitment crisis facing Southend, Basildon and Broomfield ( Mid Essex) hospitals.
The bottom line is that this is a financially driven scheme and they need to slash the £400-500 million estimated financial deficit by 2020/21. The health of our local population is being sacrificed in the name of savings in an already highly underfunded NHS which is in crisis.
If the Mid and South Essex STP plans are allowed to progress, annually over 5400 patients from the Southend Hospital catchment area alone will have their planned and emergency care re-located to either Basildon or Broomfield hospitals. There are a huge number of concerns that many of their preferred pathways for re-locating and centralising planned and emergency care specialities are detrimental to patient outcomes and will enforce a 'postcode lottery' for NHS services for our local, ever expanding population. The STP had to shelve their dangerous scheme in July 2017 for the A&E downgrades and blanket re-direction of 999 ambulances from Southend and Broomfield Hospital to a 'super A&E' at Basildon, following exposure that the 'on the floor clinicians' were NOT behind the plans and there was the mass public pressure, led by our campaigns.
We acknowledge that there are certain conditions such as complex trauma and neurological issues which do indeed benefit patient outcome by transfer to specialist centres and those pathways are already in place. We stand by the opinions of the 'on the floor' clinicians working at our local hospital. We are all for any modernisation of health services IF there is a CLEAR, CLINICALLY EVIDENCE BASED CASE FOR CHANGE supported by adequately staffed community health services, early GP access and increased provision of social care beds and home support to assist discharging patients.
There is however little independent clinical rationale for their proposals and the STP to date have not provided any detail about how they will transfer these vast numbers of acutely ill patients between the three hospitals, other than claim they will provide an 'in house transfer team' so they do not increase the pressure on the already understaffed and over-burdened East of England Ambulance Service.
We say - by who? With what staff? At what cost to life? With emergency general surgery to name just one example, being moved from Southend to Broomfield - we feel it's a long and busy journey from Southend when you are in an ambulance desperately in need of an operation. If we are honest, we do not think the STP leads have ANY intention of such provision for a large, complex and expensive internal transfer service and the long term goal is to return to the downgrading of both Southend and Broomfield A&Es, redirecting most of the 999 emergencies to Basildon or Broomfield according to their medical or surgical pre-hospital diagnosis.
Then there's the HUMAN factor - that many of our loved ones won't be in our LOCAL hospital at their time of crisis, where we can pop to see them (emotional well-being and support from family plays a huge role in patient improvement) or how do we get there 'in time' if we get 'the call' to come quickly.
The Mid and South Essex STP are on a Government led timeframe to achieve massive financial savings and the whole STP proposals are built on mass improvement in primary care services (access to GPs, mental health practitioners, community nurses, physios, specialist children's practitioners etc) in the community via 'Locality HUBS' which allegedly will PREVENT many unnecessary hospital admissions. There is also a huge focus on 'self care' and the increased use of web-based apps for self-diagnosis and treatment. Currently and historically, there is a huge GP crisis in South Essex and a significant drop in the numbers of nursing and allied health professional applicants plus unfilled vacancies across the whole of the healthcare sector. Hubs may be located at increased distance from resident's homes than their current GP facility therefore causing issues of accessibility for many patient groups.
Then there's the issue of actual investment in the creation of these 'locality hubs' and that these will take YEARS to actually significantly reduce the hospital admission rate in an area with an increasingly elderly population group and massively growing commercial and residential infrastructure. Despite all this, the Mid and South Essex STP still feel it is your best interests to completely re-structure acute hospital services and 'centralise' emergency care for acutely unwell medical and surgical patients in our town. We believe that they must not alter our acute hospital services if there is not the community care resources proven to be in place first.
There has been no mention in the STP for provision of community social care beds for those patients discharged from hospital, yet still requiring further care or rehabilitation before they can safely go home. Investment in this would reduce the 'exit block' from our A&E, provide timely discharges back to the community and prevent cancelled operations, as there would once more be the availability of inpatient beds. These simple measures would alleviate much of the pressure on our local hospital without the need to re-locate essential and life-saving services.
Our NHS is in crisis and we refuse to become collateral damage in the name of cuts.
For further details of all of the concerns, please follow the SaveSouthendNHS page https://www.facebook.com/SaveSouthendNHS/ Twitter @NHSunited.
How it will be delivered
We will deliver the petition in person.