Plans to move Notts hospital services into community and close 200 beds ‘a cover for cuts’

City Hospital Picture: Google Street View

Plans to move more hospital services into the community and close 200 beds across Nottinghamshire is ‘a cover for cuts’ according to a local campaign group.

The Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) for health and social care services across Notts was one of 44 drafted across the UK in November.

It outlines how health services will improve locally despite a need to reduce spending.

Notts’ STP is still in its first draft stage, with patients and groups still giving feedback, and a second draft is expected this summer.

One of the major changes involved moving services from the QMC, City Hospital and King’s Mill Hospital into the community to free space and close beds.

The aim is to help tackle a £628m gap which is being forecast in the national social care and public health budget by 2021, yet still improve services.

Notts’ STP says the forecast gap by 2021 is ‘financially unsustainable and requires us to make significant efficiency savings and transformation changes to our model of care within
Nottinghamshire as well as continue empowering our citizens to self-care independently’.

City Hospital’s day unit. The hospital and QMC will lose beds under the plan.

However, local campaign group Keep Our NHS Public say that Notts’ STP is nothing more than ‘a cover for cuts.’

Spokesman Mike Scott said: “As an aspiration we would support it but in reality it’s not likely to happen; they will get lost in government cuts.

“Money saved from closing hospital beds needs to be transferred into the community services and it’s crucial that beds are not closed until the new services are fully up and running and are shown to be working.

“It’s just the sort of thing we expect from the government of making cuts and passing on the responsibility.”

A spokesman for the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire STP said that beds “will only be closed once community services are in place”.

They added: “It will be set up first and then there will be a gradual transition.

“Anything that’s not specialist or requires a hospital setting that can be safely provided closer to home will be.”

The spokesman also said there are no plans to change the size of the Nottingham City Hospital or the QMC sites, although both could lose beds. Downsizing of hospital sites was considered as part of a merger between Nottingham University Hospitals Trust and Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust, but this fell through last year.

They added: “In the first draft of the report, it referred to a proposed merger between Nottingham University Hospitals (including QMC and City Hospital) and Sherwood Forest Hospitals (including King’s Mill Hospital).

“However no downsizing of city hospital is mentioned in the current plan.”

The merger between the two Trusts collapsed in November last year and cost the NHS £10m.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said: “These NHS plans — developed by local doctors, hospitals and councils working together with the communities they serve — will help patients get better care by delivering the NHS’s five year forward view, transforming mental health provision, improving cancer care, and delivering better access to GPs.”

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