Rosie Cooper, Labour MP for West Lancashire, told Health Minister, Liam Byrne MP that power lies with the people not with NHS Mangers and was told that any decision about the future of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust will not be made for “managerial convenience.” Rosie is asking people to make sure that their opinion is registered by filling in the petition forms either in the Advertiser or by getting petition forms from her office to make sure that their opinion is registered. DON’T LEAVE IT TO SOMEONE ELSE.
Rosie Cooper managed to secure a Parliamentary Adjournment Debate on the issue of hospital trust mergers. She was supported in the debate by fellow Labour MPs Helen Jones (Warrington North) and Andrew Miller (Ellesmere Port & Neston) and George Howarth (Knowsley North & Sefton East).
When asked, Rosie absolutely agreed that mergers across significant distances are an ‘appalling idea’.
Rosie Cooper MP said:
“I care deeply and believe absolutely in the National Health Service. As an MP I have a duty and a responsibility to guarantee the best and safest health services possible for the people of West Lancashire. I sought a debate in Parliament because I believe that guarantee is under threat from chief executives seeking to merge trusts.”
“Merging trusts would not be the solution but the easy option. It would be tantamount to throwing up our hands and saying there is nothing we can do. I cannot accept that as a solution and my constituents will not.”
Rosie went on to say:
“An assumption is being made that a merger is a solution to the debt problem. That is not the case. Merger would address the problem by running services across Merseyside to reduce costs. So patients would have to travel further treatment.”
“We need to concentrate our efforts on getting the financial solution resolved. If the debt and the cause of it are dealt with, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust could be viable. We would then be tacking the problems, keeping a voice and keeping health services as local as possible.”
“Merging will not result in the debt being reduced or services being enhanced and it is not in the interests of the people of West Lancashire.”
In the speech Rosie also raised the question as to the commitment to the future of the Ormskirk hospital site. For example, Ormskirk has an adult minor injuries unit that would save people travelling to Southport in many instances. However, it appears not many people are aware it exists and there has been very little publicity.
As Rosie made clear in her speech:
“The power lies with the people, in whose name and with whose money the NHS is paid for. When local people and health service staff lose their voice in such a way, health services just happen to them. Rather than being empowered and enabled, patients are marginalised and staff demoralised.”
Health Minister Liam Byrne said:
“Ministers will need to see extremely good evidence to justify any change in the current configuration. The Strategic Health Authority must satisfy Ministers on three tests in particular. First, there must be consistency with the NHS Plan and the White Paper on care close to the home, which we shall publish at the turn of the year. Secondly, ay new proposals must unequivocally produce better standards of care. Thirdly, any proposals must be subject to a full public consultation. Managerial convenience is not one of the tests that the proposals must pass.”
The Minister promised to keep a ‘watching brief on the developments as they arise’ on the question of hospital mergers in this area.
A meeting is being held in London this week between MPs whose constituencies will be affected by possible mergers and the Cheshire and Merseyside Strategic Health Authority’s Chief Executive and Chairman.