Hospital governor raises concerns over Shire Hill
Monday 11th September 2017 14:42 Community News Old Glossop Posted by Adam Higgins

A hospital governor from Old Glossop says the plan to close Shire Hill Hospital makes financial sense but doesn’t make sense from a moral or healthcare perspective.

Chris Webster, who represents Glossopdale on the council of governors of Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, feels the hospital is ‘steamrolling into a crisis of our own making’ with proposals to relocate intermediate care services to the Stamford Unit at Tameside Hospital.

A petition, set up by campaigners from the Save Our Shire Hill Hospital group, has received more than 2,500 signatures as they fight to spare the town’s only remaining hospital from closure.

A public consultation is open until November 15 and the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) says it wants to improve local NHS services to meet the needs of patients now and in the future.

READ MORE: Shire Hill faces threat of closure

“The CCG is finance led and the Foundation Trust is patient led. Neither of them will ever be able to agree on the needs of the residents,” Chris told the Chronicle.

“The CCG is desperate to save money and the Foundation Trust is desperate to maintain a high level of health and security within the community.

“Glossopdale for a long time has been a poor relation to the rest of Derbyshire and now we are becoming a poor relation to the Tameside and Glossop NHS Trust.”

Chris, the people’s representative who has been a community governor for three years, fears the Stamford Unit won’t be fit for purpose and delivering intermediate care in homes won’t be efficient.

“The unit was designed, commissioned and built as a luxury high class care home and was never intended to be an intermediate care centre,” he said.

“As such, the building has got many failings and is dangerous in the middle of winter as there will be no spare capacity for the main hospital when all 94 intermediate care beds are taken up.

“We will be drawing on extra nurses, doctors, care workers and auxiliary staff such as cleaners and porters which we are already struggling to recruit.

“My big concern is where the CCG say we’re going to start care in people’s homes when we are already massively understaffed.

“The reason Shire Hill has such a prominent place in the community is because it’s far more economical and it’s far more common sense to put all our people who need intermediate care in one place so we don’t need massive amounts of staff and treat everyone in the same place.

“The danger is that if we spread it throughout the community and given our road infrastructure, carers and staff will actually spend six hours a day travelling and only two hours a day treating patients.

“An urgent intermediate care response team is supposed to be being set up which is able to attend to patients within one hour and can stay with them for up to 72 hours until other arrangements can be made.

“The only alternative is to re-admit them back to hospital but it’s choking the hospital, there will be more bed blocking and they will have to go back through A&E, which is already struggling to meet the four-hour targets.”

Hospital: Shire Hill, on Bute Street in Old Glossop, currently provides 36 beds for Intermediate Care to support people who are terminally ill or need time to recover from serious operations

Campaigners were out in force last Saturday morning in Glossop town centre, spreading the message and getting locals to sign the petition – something Chris urges as many people as possible to do.

The former borough councillor – who has been a community governor for three years – was also in attendance and said the event on Norfolk Square, which even attracted national headlines, went well.

“To say the weather wasn’t the best, it was reasonably well attended and the people who did come along were very enthusiastic,” he said.

“There were some staff members and local politicians there, including MP Ruth George who we thank for her support. All in all, it went well and we collected many signatures.

“It was busy on the streets and there was support from passing motorists and bus drivers who were honking their horns as the campaigners held up their placards.

“It’s important that every member of the family, every relative, every patient in Glossop and Tameside has their say. We need to get their views on where they want to receive their intermediate care.

“We have to take away the emotion of Shire Hill being a lovely little hospital and look at what is practical and I feel it would be more practical for it to be delivered in one place.”

READ MORE: Fight stepped up to save Shire Hill

Chris, who lives on Queen’s Drive, spent a few weeks in Shire Hill three years ago and was full of praise for the way he was treated.

“I spent around a month in Shire Hill over Christmas and New Year in 2014 when I wasn’t well. Many relatives of patients I spoke to there said they couldn’t receive intermediate care at home.

“The work they did at Shire Hill was fantastic. They got me walking again and mobile in a short time. The staff were fantastic and helped me in a very lonely time. We don’t want to lose that service.”

The consultation is open until 15 November and you can take part by clicking here or pick up a paper copy at local GPs across Glossop and Tameside.

You can also write to NHS CCG at NHS Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group, Dukinfield Town Hall, King Street, Dukinfield, SK16 4LA or email [email protected].


Main picture:

Making a stand: Chris Webster (right) was one of the campaigners showing their support in Glossop last weekend along with High Peak MP Ruth George