Saturday, October 9, 2010
A patient at Stoke Mandeville Hospital had to be treated in a toilet after wards became overcrowded, it emerged on Friday.
The revelation came as Sheryl Pope, a Buckinghamshire National Health Service strategy director, was questioned over plans to bring healthcare to the forefront of the community. A number of councillers challenged her plans, however, claiming that the opposite had been happening.
The Bucks Free Press reported that councillors asked Pope why community hospital beds are being closed and why more clinics are being centralised. The Overview & Scrutiny Committee for Public Health Services was told that an “under-used” gynaecology clinic located at Buckingham Community Hospital was moved to Stoke Mandeville, which one councillor said was already too congested.
|One person had to be treated in the toilet. I’m wondering how quickly you’re going to change it.|
“You’re bringing things into Stoke, but there’s such a lot of congestion there… One person had to be treated in the toilet. I’m wondering how quickly you’re going to change it,” High Wycombe councellor Wendy Mallen asked Mrs Pope, a joint director for strategy and system reform.
It emerged that overnight wards at Chalfont’s and Gerrards Cross Hospital have remained closed since a fire risk was identified in 2008. Chalfont St Peter councillor, Bruce Allen, said of the revelation: “We’ve never had an answer from anyone of any intelligence to say what’s going to happen. We had a community hospital with 29 beds and it served us well. We keep asking when it’s going to be opened and we get nil answers. I’ve been to so many meetings and heard this nonsense. We can’t get an answer from anyone.”
Mrs Pope replied by saying that she could not give a “definitive answer,” but said that she considered Chalfont’s to be “an important part of the jigsaw.” Mrs Pope was told by the chairman of the Buckinghamshire County Council committee that she had “a duty” to inform residents of the futue of the hospital. “Unfortunately there’s always a reason for delaying it,” said Mike Appleyard. “All I’m saying is sorry, no longer. We expect you to be here within six months with some answers on the community hospitals.”
Hedley Cadd, another councillor, attacked the gynaecology transfer, saying that he and his wife were forced to travel for four hours to get to and from Stoke Mandeville Hospital, for a consultation that lasted only twenty minutes. Mrs Pope responded by saying that she was “very aware” of the issue, conceding that because the clinic is only 40% full, “those clinics are being denied to somebody else.” Mrs Pope said that it was too early to say how the Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, a new organisation which is the result of a merger between the Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust and several community hospitals, would manage local hospitals.
Anne Eden, Chief Executive of the new organisation, said: “We felt it was important to change our name to reflect the wide range of services we now offer patients from our hospitals and in community settings and in people’s own homes. In addition, discussions took place with staff across the organisation alongside patient representatives to evolve our five patient promises to reflect our extended range of services which underpin everything that we do.”