Concerns for the future of Bassetlaw Hospital have been sparked after health chiefs announced a fresh review of service provision.
Healthcare professionals across Bassetlaw, South Yorkshire and Chesterfield are coming together to look at how five services are provided: urgent and emergency care, maternity, hospital services for children who are particularly ill, services for stomach and intestines conditions, and stroke1.
Trust chiefs have insisted that hospitals in the region will remain open and that the consultation has been launched so the sites can “work collectively” to “ensure local people continue to get safe, sustainable, high-quality care”.
But the review has led to a backlash from campaigners in the district, along with Bassetlaw MP John Mann, who fear key services could be faced with closure.
Ellen King, who set up the Parents Against Cuts to Bassetlaw Children’s Ward group after Ward A4 closed to night-time admissions, said: “This review means we face the very real prospect of reduced or downgraded services at Bassetlaw Hospital.
“I have said all along that the long-term plan is to shift vital services to Doncaster, leaving Bassetlaw with nothing more than a cottage hospital, and this review points to exactly that. We cannot allow what happened with the children’s ward to happen to other services.
“We must pull together as a community to make our voices heard.”
The information gathered as part of the review will be examined by former vascular consultant and Yorkshire and Humber clinical senate chair, professor Chris Welsh.
He said: “I know first-hand that we have some excellent health care services in our region that are among the very best in the NHS but we also face some significant challenges over the coming years.
“If we’re to continue to provide high quality and safe care in the future and continue to attract high calibre staff, we cannot rest on our laurels.
“We need to use the expertise and knowledge of our healthcare professionals along with the views of the people we care for to inform how we deliver services moving forward.
“I want to be very clear from the outset that this piece of work is not about closing any of our local general hospitals.
“We want to keep services as local as possible where it is appropriate.
“We will also be focussed on retaining our existing staff and how we create opportunities which attract new staff too. This is about making our services fit for the future.”
When the work concludes in April 2018 it is anticipated there will be a series of recommendations about what changes could be made to future-proof services. If those recommendations are accepted, a full public consultation will then take place.
Residents are invited to get involved by filling in a survery at http://bit.ly/SYBsurvey or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.