Steve Brine, says people need to stand up now for their local hospital to safeguard its long-term future.
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Winchester, Steve Brine, says people need to stand up now for their local hospital to safeguard its long-term future – including A&E provision at the Romsey Road site.
Speaking after a meeting on Thursday evening (14 December) of the Patient and Public Involvement Forum for Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust, Steve said it is clear there are big changes on the way at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital as hospital managers look to save £11m.
He says; “The deficit has already closed Victoria Ward at the RHCH and we now know the surgical St Cross Ward will close before the end of December, as well as another yet to be named in the New Year. In addition to this 181 posts will go within 12-months and vital training budgets for staff have been cut-back.” Janet Rowse, the trust’s managing director for strategy and performance told the meeting (held at St Paul’s Church in Winchester) about the controversial Fit for the Future plan which aims to bring the organisation back into balance and give it a springboard for what it hopes will be a successful application for foundation trust status in 2008.
Steve adds; “There are so many good things happening at the RHCH about which staff and patients can be proud, from intensive care services which have recently been nationally recognised to its excellent record in the battle against dangerous hospital infections such as MRSA and C-Dif.
"Foundation status will give staff at the RHCH more financial independence and lead to more involvement of local people in key decision making – that has to be a good thing and I fully support their aim to achieve it. I am however, anxious that we safeguard patient care throughout a process of change and that we don’t damage the present in our drive to be ‘fit for the future’.
“I was also enormously encouraged last night to hear the A&E department at the RHCH described as ‘core business’ for the Trust both now and in the future. But we cannot afford locally to take our eye off the ball for one second and must constantly seek assurances from the Trust that there will be no downgrading of Winchester’s hospital.
“People can see the threat to A&E departments in many other parts of the country such as Guildford, and with Government Ministers talking more and more about the creation of regional emergency we need to be on our guard locally. People up and down the country are having to fight for their local NHS at the moment and I am determined Winchester’s voice will be heard.”