West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has today slammed the Government for creating a health service that encourages protectionism and boundary building between areas.
Since the passing of the Health and Social Care Bill, beginning the process of creating Integrated Care Systems (ICS), MP and Parliamentary Health Select Committee Member Rosie Cooper has consistently spoken out about the risk of creating a fragmented NHS.
These fears are now being realised, as the West Lancashire MP has found that her constituents are being turned away from local providers, simply because they are based just inside another ICS boundary.
In one instance, Rosie has found that the neighbouring ICS in Cheshire and Merseyside, have made the decision to stop accepting dermatology referrals from West Lancashire residents. This decision will now mean that West Lancashire residents will likely have to travel much further to a hospital within the Lancashire and South Cumbria ICS, rather than the closest provider of this healthcare, which was at St Helens Hospital, within Merseyside.
There have also been reports that patients were turned away in the Greater Manchester area when they tried to attend an A&E which wasn’t closest to their home. This cannot be allowed to continue as choice has not been abolished and we have a National Health Service free at the point of use for all.
At this week’s Parliamentary Health Questions, MP Rosie referred to this case, and asked the Minister how the Department for Health plans to ensure her West Lancashire constituents’ needs are considered when Cheshire & Merseyside are making decisions that directly affect them.
Rosie Cooper MP commented:
“The outrageous decision by Cheshire & Merseyside ICS to stop accepting dermatology referrals from West Lancashire is a clear indication that the new NHS structure encourages boundary building and protectionism!
“My constituents, whose healthcare is supposedly governed by Lancashire and South Cumbria ICS, are now having decisions on which services they can and can’t access made by another ICS that isn’t required to listen to or have regard to their needs!
“I am now really concerned that we have completely lost the ‘National’ in National Health Service, and instead have created the wholly independent and protectionist ICS Kingdoms!
“Simply because they live near the ICS boundary, my constituents rely greatly on health services that are based in Merseyside. Even our District General Hospital in Ormskirk is governed by Cheshire & Merseyside because it is part of Southport & Ormskirk Hospitals Trust.
“This must be addressed. The Government and NHS must create a mechanism for my West Lancashire constituents’ voices to be heard when neighbouring ICS’ like Cheshire and Merseyside are making decisions that directly affect them. Without this, every ICS will become its own kingdom that closely guards its borders and budgets!”