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Published by eclarke04

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Published by: eclarke04 on Mar 22, 2012
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Why Royston will lose its hospital.I attended a very professionally run 'Consultation Cafe' on Tuesday. I took up the public invitationto attend partly because I believe in consultation when decisions are being made, and partly becauseon a working afternoon they might have difficulty finding people to consult.A very positive 'Vision and Strategy' paper for Hertfordshire was available before the meeting,which is just as well, because the efficient afternoon programme went straight to the discussion ofalternatives for Royston. The vision and strategy paper reflected agreements made 18 months ago.I care about Royston and I really care about health provision, so it is with some shame that I have toadmit I was unaware of these agreements made for us here in Royston and North Herts. Butsummarising the relevant substance of the paper:Its scope covers intermediate care services - broadly short term care outside of a main hospital, i.e.in care homes, community hospitals or a patient's own home. These services are provided mainlyfor older people, by health care professionals and care assistants.The number of older people in Hertfordshire is expected to rise by 50% over the next 20 years andthere is increasing public demand for for new treatments.The vision and strategy includes more care-needing people staying in their own homes, or in beds innearby nursing homes bought when needed at the best price. The paper presented figures showingthe weekly bed cost for Royston Hospital was £1710 per week for 18 beds in 2010-11, £2138 perweek in 2011-12 for 12 beds, compared with a market cost of £950 per week.The PCT uses 12 beds in Royston Hospital - which is run by Hertfordshire Community Trust (oneof the largest employers in the county).There have been several initiatives to replace services at Royston Hospital (a euphemism for theirattempts to close it and sell the site). The delays have been frustrating.Local care homes have already been invited to tender for the intermediate care package HCC andthe PCT wish to commission. Beds commissioned from care homes will replace NHS beds.An independent care provider will redevelop the Royston Hospital site to provide 5-6 Intermediatecare beds and around 40 nursing/residential beds, a number of which would be bought by the NHSand HCC.Other services provided by Royston hospital, including clinics, will be provided either in the newfacility on the hospital site, in an extension to the Health Centre, or elsewhere once the hospital sitehas been redeveloped. The interim arrangements for these services during the redevelopment werethe only subject of the consultation cafe, nothing else.So all of this was a given for the consultation. We were told quite emphatically that the existingbuilding was quite unsuitable. For example the first floor is uninhabitable because it gets too hot. Iconfess I was left wondering why HCT (one of the largest employers in the county) has not beenable to lag the pipes or maintain the radiator valves so that office occupants can turn down theheating. But I digress ...We were merely being invited to choose which of four alternative strategies for non-bed basedservices should be adopted for the interim period while the site was being developed. The obviousoption - to use part of the hospital site - had a hastily inflated price tag of about a million pounds. I

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