Campaign launched against potential cuts to hospital services in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw

A campaign has been launched against potential cuts to hospital services in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw.

By Alana Roberts
Friday, 24 May, 2019, 12:16
Protesters lobbying Sheffield CCG over proposals to postpone the closure of the city's walk-in centre and minor injuries unit last year.

Sheffield Save Our NHS are opposing potential changes to maternity and paediatric services for sick children.

It follows a successful petition in which 20,000 people objected to the idea of shutting the Minor Injuries Unit at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, and the Walk-in Centre on Broad Lane, last year.

After a consultation period, health officials recommended a rethink on the plans, which the CCG accepted – meaning their future is now secured until at least 2021.

Campaigners say chiefs from the South Yorkshire & Bassetlaw Integrated Care System – a partnership of all the health and care organisations in the region – are recommending scaling back consultant-led maternity units in each of their six district hospitals.

They also said they are proposing the closure of up to two of the six paediatric inpatient units, both of which health bosses deny.

Professor Des Breen, medical director for the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System said:“There are no proposals to change any services in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw.

“We have some excellent services in our region and we want them to continue being the safest and highest quality, now and in the future.

“Along with all of the NHS, we will benefit from our share of the extra £20bn funding announced by the Government last year and our focus is on designing local services to meet people’s needs, not cutting them.

“Recommendations from an independent review of hospital services told us that maternity and children’s services should continue at all our hospitals. It said pregnant women needed more choice and that services could be improved by working even more closely together.

“Reducing the number of units would only be considered if new ways of working didn’t help and we are committed to providing services in every town and city in the region.

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“We have not made any proposals to change any services and to support services without changing them, we have recently launched ‘hosted networks’ as a way of working together better to support each of our local services and their ability to provide high quality and safe care.”

However protesters firmly believe that the units may close, and if they do people may have to travel further afield and local units will get filled up with patients coming from districts where facilities have been shut.

SSOHNS also say the proposals pose a 'serious threat’ to the health of women and children since 75 per cent of pregnancies in the area are classed as medium to high-risk.

Mick Suter, SSONHS Chair, said: “We are already 150 midwives short at the moment across the region and we think that will get worse with people retiring, and they’ve got rid of the nursing bursary meaning there has been a big drop in the numbers of people coming through.

“Those whose place of work has closed will have to travel further to work. Lots of midwives could also be sent elsewhere. There are discussions of a ‘hub’ meaning they could get sent wherever they are needed.”

SSONHS will be working across South Yorkshire handing out petitions and forming model resolutions to be sent to SYBICS.

SSONHS Secretary Ruth Milsom said: ‘We will be appealing to branches of political parties and trade unions to pass motions opposing these proposals. We will also be calling on Sheffield Council to use its powers to try and block any cuts.”

Mick added: “Many people think it’s not worth campaigning, but our successful campaign last year to stop the closure of the MIU and the walk-in centre shows that if we fight hard enough, we can win.”

For more information or to attend an SSONHS meeting – which takes place on the second Wednesday of every month at the Central United Reformed Church, Norfolk Street – contact teamssonhs@gmail.com via email.