By 10/03/2017 0 Comments

“If it ain’t broke why fix it?” Say Glenfield Campaigners

“Can you imagine how we feel knowing that our precious daughter could have to travel for hours in an emergency situation to get to life saving surgery when she may not have hours? IF YOU GO AHEAD WITH YOUR PROPOSAL CHILDREN WILL DIE, ITS A SIMPLE AS THAT. How can that ever be an acceptable outcome?”

This was one of the moving and powerful speeches from patients, families and campaigners at the public consultation meeting in Leicester over the threatened closure of the East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre at Glenfield Hospital by NHS England (NHSE).

NHS England meeting Leicester

Kirsten added “It seems that my daughter Poppy and children like her are at the bottom of the pile when it comes to NHS England. Threatening to close the unit because surgeons don’t do enough operations is unthinkable. It is quality not quantity that counts and Glenfield are at the top of their game. Her life is difficult enough as it is without NHS England adding trips to hospitals that are hours away.”

NHSE representatives were battered for two hours, not just by the emotions of parents, but crucially the dismantling of the logical flaws in their arguments. What was clear was that the main argument for ending surgery was an unscientific, arbitrary target of 125 operations per surgeon per year. But NHSE choose to call it a ‘standard’ below which surgeons do not get enough experience of a wide range of cases and unbelievably are attempting to impose this retrospectively.

This was the topic of the first question taken in the meeting from Tom Barker, Save Glenfield activist and Socialist Party member.  He pointed out that Glenfield is on target to meet those ‘standards.’ Already Glenfield is only marginally below this figure.

The closure of this unit would mean that there would be nowhere in the entire East Midlands that carries out this surgery and much discussion centred around the ludicrous extra travel time figures NHSE had produced.

One controversial point was that many in the audience believed that cuts in the NHS were behind this, a point vehemently denied by NHSE. The hospital trust Chief Executive, who is opposing the closure, however said that it wasn’t about cuts. In fact he pointed out that it would cost a lot of money to close Glenfield and then create capacity elsewhere. However Socialist Party members think that the mindset of NHSE is created by the atmosphere of ‘centralisation is good’ in the context of massive cuts in the NHS and it would mean cuts in the long term.

Before the meeting and during it, a protest organised by the Save Glenfield Children’s Heart Centre campaign took place outside, highlighting the fact that the ‘public consultation’ meeting was inadequate and many were not able to register to get in. It was in a room holding 150 when 2000 came to our last demonstration! We will continue to campaign through the consultation and beyond to stop this closure.

Glenfield has among the best outcomes in the county and received an ‘outstanding’ report from the Care Quality Commission for effectiveness. As one parent said “If it ain’t broke why fix it?”

Photo courtesy of Unite Community Leicestershire

Photo courtesy of Unite Community Leicestershire

Posted in: Hospitals, Leicester, NHS

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