Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Save our Beds

The Shepton Mallet Community Hospital in-patient hospital beds are now under review.

These beds offer care for Stroke patients and essential care for people who need care and can be released from larger hospitals or for respite care.

Last year the Wells Constituency Labour Party campaigned against the Health and Social care bill, now an Act.

We said that for the NHS to save £20 billion in this parliament and pay for a top down down reorganisation was simply the wrong prescription for our NHS.

This review has saving money written all over it, we know that the Somerset NHS has to find £6.2 million in the next three years.

At present the Community hospital serves people that needs care;

1. Patients who cannot be treated at home are admitted by local GPs instead of being sent to acute hospitals in Bath, Bristol, Yeovil or Taunton.

2. Some spend time there following treatment at acute hospitals, so they can be closer to their homes and families - and free up scarce and expensive beds in the big hospitals.

3. Other patients are there because caring for them in their homes has failed, or is not an option.

4. Public transport is very patchy (and getting worse), and our most vulnerable people are the ones who suffer most. Many patients are elderly or infirm, like their relatives, and visiting distant 2 hospitals 17-26 miles away would be a great hardship, and impossible for many. The number of over-85 year-olds in the country has doubled in the past 25 years and is expected to double again by 2030. Two-thirds of NHS patients are already over 65.

The nearest Stroke hospital to Shepton is South Petherton, this a nine hour round trip on our public bus service!

Everyone should lobby the Somerset Health Service, our aim must be to keep the inpatient service in Shepton Community hospital.

But, it is clear that the governments claim that there would be no cuts to frontline services is proving untrue.

We know that the Clinical Commissioning Group, new body set up in the top down reorganisation of the NHS, is fully involved in the review, and is effect in response to the new Health and Social care Act.

Labour warned that this Act would lead to more waiting and be less fair with less care.

We must campaign against Shepton being one of the first closures under this new Act, this is about people, Shepton's hospital offers quality care for those in our community that need that care, care close to home, this helps their recovery or for those to be close to their family in the closing part of their lives.

There are alternatives to closing the inpatient Community hospital, Somerset NHS and CCG just needs to listen, because we value our hospital.

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