Monday, November 30, 2015

Health Campaigner calls for extraordinary meeting of Health Scrutiny Committee

Local health campaigner, Andy Walker, has called upon Redbridge council to convene an extraordinary meeting of the Health Scrutiny Committee (HSC) to call the Doctors who run the CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups) to account over the latest Stakeholder report on the closure of Heronwood and Galleon rehabilitation wards at Wanstead Hospital.

Redbridge council recently decided to object to the closure of Wanstead Hospital and as a result Mr Hunt, The Secretary of State for Health, has referred the matter to the IRP (Independent Review Panel) who can make a recommendation to the Secretary of State that closure is stopped.

Andy Walker said, “The report states that our local CCGs are to go ahead with the closure anyway. The CCGs are undermining both Mr Hunt and local Councillors. There seems little point in having a HSC, or an IRP, if local medics are allowed to so blatantly disregard key decisions. HSC may seek in due course to refer a new King George Hospital Closure plan to the IRP, we do not want Wanstead Hospital to become a precedent.”

However, the report, reproduced below, makes it clear that whilst they intend to continue with their current plans pending a decision “in the event that they are required to undo the work they have already done to date, they will of course comply”

Stakeholder Report

As you know, earlier this year the secretary of state for health rejected a request from Redbridge health scrutiny committee to refer the CCGs’ plans for changes to intermediate care services to the independent reconfiguration panel (IRP).
Following a further request from Redbridge scrutiny, following representations from campaigners in Wanstead, the secretary of state for health has now decided to pass the referral to the IRP asking them for an initial assessment of their referral.
We are obviously very disappointed as this could stop plans that we and our partners already have in place for providing better care for patients – not just in Redbridge but across Barking and Dagenham and Havering too.
These home-based community treatment services are already caring for ten times the number of mainly older patients than did the old bed-based model – more than 20,000 people so far. Patients and carers also rate them very highly.
They help keep people out of hospital – 90% of patients do not go on to be admitted – something we all know is good for patients and good for local hospitals under strain, especially at this time of year.
The CCGs are cooperating fully with the IRP and are now providing a range of information for the panel to consider. In the meantime, and after considering advice from NHS England and in line with our priority to provide the safest care for our patients over winter, we will continue with our plans to deliver improved care for tens of thousands of patients in the three boroughs, including a rehabilitation bed for any patient who needs one.
So we are continuing with the phased beds centralisation, as described in our last stakeholder update to you in late September. This means that the remaining intermediate care beds will move from Heronwood and Galleon to King George Hospital before the end of December 2015 and at the same time, work is undertaken in Jasmine ward (currently vacant) to provide full access to a rehabilitation environment.
We want to keep running these fantastic, evidence based services that are benefiting patients and carers alike, but in the event that we are required to undo the work we have done with partners to date, we will of course comply.
When the evidence for improving health care for local people is so strong, GPs will always want to make those changes happen. We believe our plans are in the best interests of our patients.
We will continue to involve our stakeholders and keep you updated as to the outcome of the IRP’s initial assessment.
In the meantime if you have any questions, please contact our head of communications, Andy Strickland, at:
Dr Jagan John, clinical director, integrated care, Barking and Dagenham CCG
Dr Gurdev Saini, clinical director, frail elders, Havering CCG
Dr Mehul Mathukia, clinical director, integrated care, Redbridge CCG


  1. I think I must have missed something. As I understand it, wards like Galleon and Herongate are for people whose day to day needs to not yet allow them to return to their homes but who do not require to be in a bed in an acute ward. If appropriate care can be given in the patients's own home, then that is what happens already. So are we being told that there are patients who are not in need of an acute bed but are not able to be cared for in their own homes? Nobody who needs to be cared for while a care package is put in place for them? In my experience many people need this kind of 'halfway house' while, for instance, handrails are fitted in their house or a ramp up to the front door. Have I got it wrong? And is it just a coincidence that the remainder of the Wanstead Hospital site has been converted into very expensive flats?

    1. The "plan" is to move the rehabilitation beds from Wanstead to an existing ward in King George. The worry is that this will reduce beds at KGH for other services including A&E. But they can't close KGH A&E yet because capacity at Queens is not up to scratch. It's all a bit cart before the horse.

    2. That goes without saying. But not so long ago we were being told that part of the reason for the shortage of beds in hospitals was 'bed blocking' by people who didn't need acute care but weren't ready to go home. Surely we need to provide extra interim care beds, not just move them from one hospital to another.

    3. They don't seem to be listening ...

  2. The chair of HSC has declined Mr Walker's request. See his reply here, Click!

  3. Patsy...think you might find that people are ready to go home but the care plans for being at home are what take the time...thus causing a backlog...the system has no sense of emergency..