Under direction from NHS England, Island Labour say that Isle of Wight health bosses have been instructed to prepare an option to cut services at St Mary’s Hospital to no more than Accident & Emergency and maternity care, with all other provision being shipped to the mainland.
One of several options
Isle of Wight Labour’s Parliamentary spokesperson, Julian Critchley, told OnTheWight the news was revealed at a meeting this week and that it was one of several options the Isle of Wight NHS have been asked to prepare.
The move is part of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), which proposes to integrate services across the Isle of Wight and Hampshire, with Islanders having to travel to the mainland for many health services. The Plans sets how Hampshire and the Isle of Wight health bosses are actively forming an alliance to work together in the future to rationalise health provision across the area.
Labour: Would “put Islanders’ lives at risk”
Mr Critchley says such an option would put Islanders’ lives at risk, and Island Labour will fight it vigorously and relentlessly.
“All Islanders should be appalled to learn of plans to strip all but accident & emergency and maternity services from St Mary’s.
“This puts lives at risk, as well as forcing sick and vulnerable people to travel to the mainland away from their families. It’s disgraceful it’s even being considered.”
OnTheWight have been in touch with Isle of Wight NHS and will update once we hear back.
NHS ‘Day of Action’
The news of the possible cuts to services was revealed in the Isle of Wight Labour Party’s latest release about an NHS Day of Action they plan to hold on Saturday 3rd February.
The action is timed to coincide with an Emergency Demonstration in London called by Health Campaigns Together and the People’s Assembly.
Julian says the event will highlight the serious threat to the Island’s health services posed by the government’s continuing austerity-driven cuts to public services.
He goes on to say,
“The Tory government has deliberately created an existential crisis in the NHS nationally, through years of serious under-funding. The health service is creaking at the seams, and the only action Jeremy Hunt offers is to fiddle with his acronyms.
“We need to be under no illusions: the Tories intend to strip the NHS to the bone, and privatise our healthcare. Contracts are already being drafted for Accountable Care Systems that will become Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs); transforming the NHS step by step towards becoming a USA-style, privatised, insurance-based health care system – all without the public or Parliament being properly consulted.
“The NHS Day of Action on 3 Feb will help Isle of Wight people become more aware of the crisis facing the NHS, what’s causing it, and how they can unite behind Labour to call this government to account and support our NHS to remain a strong and effective public service, free to all at the point of need.”
NHS: No decisions have been made
A spokesperson for the NHS told OnTheWight,
Steve Parker, Clinical Lead for the Acute Service Redesign programme, said
“Through our Acute Service Redesign work, clinical experts are currently reviewing several different options to ensure hospital based services provide safe, good quality and affordable care for people now and in the future. We are absolutely committed to the continued improvement of the Island’s hospital services and making sure Islanders can achieve health outcomes that are equal to any that might be experienced by NHS patients across the country. In some acute services, treating our most seriously ill patients, where we are finding it difficult to maintain acceptable standards and staffing levels, this will include assessing whether it will be safe to continue providing those services on the Isle of Wight in the future. However, as a point of principle, we remain committed to retaining as much of our clinical activity here on Island as possible to minimise travel for Islanders.
“The Clinical Commissioning Group will be reviewing the work to date at its meeting in public on 1st February. No decisions have been made and there remains a significant amount of work to do over the course of this year to explore this further and we will continue to engage with and involve the public during this process.”
Comment from NHS added
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