Liberal Democrats call for more support to York’s care services

Hospital report on A & E performance

Cllr Chris Cullwick, Liberal Democrat Vice Chair of the Council’s Health Committee, has written to the Secretary of State to highlight the imminent challenges York Teaching Hospital NHS Trust faces this winter.

In a recent meeting of the Health, Housing and Adult Social Care Policy and Scrutiny Committee, the Trust reported on a number of serious risks which would undermine their ability to handle increased demand for services during the winter period.

Care services in York continue to face unprecedented financial challenges and despite the recently announced £350 million by the Chancellor for the NHS this winter, far more is needed to create the extra capacity required.

The ramifications of a ‘hard’ Brexit are also being felt, as the Trust reported difficulties in recruiting to vacant positions, previously occupied by EU workers.

Cllr Chris Cullwick said:

“I am seriously concerned about our City’s capacity to effectively respond to increasing service demand this winter.

York’s NHS and Adult Social Care services are already facing huge financial pressures in their day-to-day work and given the Chancellor’s recent omission of Adult Social Care funding in his Autumn Budget, the burden looks set to worsen.

Furthermore, the Government’s dogged pursuit of a ‘Hard Brexit’ has adversely affected previously sustainable workforces.  Many EU Workers are leaving their care roles due to their tenuous position in the UK and services are finding it tough to replace them.  Even if more money was available, this seriously weakens the Trust’s ability to manage during the winter months.

The risks are clear and; the Government must act swiftly to address these issues.  I have written to the Secretary of State seeking his urgent attention to these issues and York’s position.

Probe into NHS service quality in York

York Councillors will be given an insight into the several problems faced by the NHS in York over the winter period.

They will be told that the number of patients increased with GP to hospital referrals up by as much as 19%.

NHS managers say that nationally it was one of the most challenging winters with the “lowest national performance since reporting began in 2004”.

There was  a “surge pressure” from Christmas Day to the New Year (footfall increase of 14% +522; ambulance increase 9% +123, compared to same period in 2015 -16).

Staff sickness, in particular on bank holidays, limited the options for additional cover

Emergency Care Standards (4 hour waits) targets in A & E were not met. They hit a record low point in January but performance had improved by March.

Hospital report on A & E performance

Lack of hospital beds continues to be blamed on delayed discharges (bed blocking) with over 5000 bed days being lost.

The report  is bound to fuel demands for higher investment in NHS services. It has emerged as a key issue in the current General Election campaign

Plan for mental health hospital at Lowfields abandoned

The NHS have withdrawn a suggestion that a replacement hospital for Bootham Park should be built on the former Lowfields school site.

The proposal brought a strong reaction from local residents who pointed out that access to Lowfields was only available through a tightly populated residential area. Increased traffic – potentially 24/7 – would have had an adverse effect on the local environment.

In a poll conducted by local LibDem Councillors in July, 57% rejected the idea. Many pointed out that City centre sites offered much better transport links for both staff and patients. Residents favoured the provision of accommodation aimed  at older people on the footprint of the former secondary school.Lowfields survey results

Now we understand that the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust are focusing their hospital search on three locations. They  are the existing Bootham Park Hospital site, a site near Clifton Park Hospital off Shipton Road, and the former Vickers and Bio-Rad factory site in Haxby Road.

The Councils formal consultation on the future of the Lowfields school site is due to commence in October.

It is likely that there will be an exhibition  of proposals at the Acomb Library. before a decision is taken by the Council’s Executive on 8th December.

Many residents also took the opportunity to object to the Council’s plans to build on the Lowfields sports fields when responding to the recent consultation on the Local Plan.

They pointed out that building on football pitches was contrary to national policies and would leave minimal amounts of green space in the nearby estates.

 

14th January meeting to receive a report on problems at York A&E

Following our story this morning prospective York MP Nick Love wrote to the new (Conservative) Chair of the Council’s Health Scrutiny Board suggesting that an urgent item be added to the agenda.

He wanted the meeting to hear first hand about the problems, the causes and the potential remedies.

Credit where it is due, Cllr Paul Doughty acted promptly and has given an assurance that a hospital representative will attend the meeting. 

The meeting takes place on Wednesday, 14th January, 2015 starting at 5.30 pm. The venue is the George Hudson Board Room – 1st Floor West Offices (F045). It is open to the public and residents can register to speak.

Nick, in his Email to Cllr Doughty, said, 

“Given the ongoing and very public crisis covered extensively in the media regarding A&E at York Hospital, would you please consider putting the matter on the Agenda for the forthcoming Health Scrutiny Committee on 14th January.

 I believe the public interest would be well served by an update on the current situation, including current figures on the “care in community” places available to York Hospital – a lack of which may be exacerbating the problems at York Hospital. As you know – spare beds to enable admissions are created when patients are discharged and care in community places significantly help towards this situation – of which the City of York Council bears partial responsibility.

 It would help if we could know if the City of York Council is meeting its obligations and targets in this respect – so as to be of the most help possible to York Hospital in this time of unprecedented pressure on their services, including A&E.

 Hopefully you could also ensure that a representative from the hospital attends the meeting (I’m sure they would welcome the opportunity) and that they publish a factsheet indicating relative demand levels, comparing this and previous years, together with a root cause analysis of the reasons for the A&E targets not being met.”