South Yorkshire Mayor slams NHS boundary changes: “This decision must not come at a cost for patients”
South Yorkshire’s mayor has slammed NHS boundary changes, branding the reorganisation “unnecessary”.
Following a review of healthcare boundaries, the Minister of State for health Edward Argar, announced that Bassetlaw’s Integrated Care System will be removed from South Yorkshire, and placed under Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.
Bassetlaw is currently part of the South Yorkshire Integrated Care System which means the majority of residents usually receive treatment at hospitals in Sheffield and Doncaster.
Some health officials and politicians believe the changes will mean patients will have to travel elsewhere in Notts and funding for services will be diverted from Bassetlaw.
South Yorkshire Mayor and Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis says he is concerned that the changes could “risk destabilising specialist services in South Yorkshire”, and that the decision “must not come at a cost for patients.”
“This is an unnecessary decision which risks undermining levels of care for patients in South Yorkshire and in Bassetlaw,” he added.
“Right now our health workers should be concentrating on responding to and recovering from the Covid pandemic, not dealing with an unnecessary reorganisation.
“The practical case for the reorganisation is weak. Around 90 per cent of hospital care for Bassetlaw patients is provided by South Yorkshire hospital trusts, rising to 98 per cent for cancer treatments.
“My great concern, which I have raised with Minsters multiple times, is whether the change risks destabilising specialist services in South Yorkshire.
“It puts us just below the commissioning threshold for services – which is particularly concerning given the region’s outstanding expertise in treating spinal injuries and rare cancers.
“The Minister has today given me a clear commitment that the changes will not be to the detriment of specialist services in Sheffield.
“I welcome that, but I will be seeking urgent reassurance that South Yorkshire’s services will not be adversely affected over the medium and longer-term.
“This decision must not come at a cost for patients.”
In a statement, Edward Argar said that the decision involved ” careful consideration of a wide range of issues, perspectives and interests and a careful weighing up of risks and benefits.
“NHS England regional teams have conducted robust engagement activity with local stakeholder organisations to develop analysis of the risks, mitigations and benefits for any options for coterminous boundaries in the affected areas.
“This engagement has included roundtables with local NHS organisations, including the ICS’s themselves as well as providers, commissioners and local authorities.”