Shire Hill Decision : On Tuesday afternoon, I visited Dukinfield Town Hall to attend a meeting of Tameside Council’s Strategic Commissioning board, one of the committees effectively established as part of the Devo Manchester works, which will effectively see Tameside Council assume responsibility for and in time consume the various health bodies (Clinical Commissioning Group and the Tameside Hospital Trust).
I was one of two High Peak Borough Councillors in attendance, but interestingly none of our county councillors local or otherwise were in attendance, including the one locally responsible at the county council for adult social care.
The reason for attending is that the board were considering the Immediate Care Consultation and effectively determining the future of Shire Hill Hospital.
After a detailed presentation of the consultation and the responses received the board resolved to approve the recommendation within the report to support option 2.
Option 2 will see the removal of intermediate care beds from Shire Hill Hospital with all beds been located at the Stamford Unit adjacent to Tameside Hospital.
In light of the concerns raised by Glossopdale residents during the consultation 8 beds will be purchased from local providers in the Glossopdale area subject to these reaching there required standards for quality, allowing local choice for residents on where they will recover.
They also resolved to commission the maximum appropriate health and social service provision from the Glossop Primary Care Centre (George Street) and that the full implementation of transferring all beds to the Stamford Unit will not be until such time as suitable home services are in place across Glossopdale.
In terms of what this means for the Shire Hill Hospital site, the board advised the site is owned by the NHS property company and that any decision on the site will be made by them.
However, given the decision to centralise all beds at the Stamford Unit, along with the intention of locating other services at the Glossop Primary Care Centre, it would appear that both our Clinical Commission Group and Tameside Hospital have no future intention to use the site.
If you’ve read this week’s Glossop Chronicle you will have already seen my though following the meeting which were :
“the decision today will be an unwelcome one for the many residents of Glossopdale who have campaigned since the announcement of this consultation against the removal of services from Shire Hill Hospital.
The ‘rich’ response to the consultation has led to changes being made to the original proposal with the decision to arrange 8 beds for patients in Glossopdale and delays to the changes in appropriate services are in place.
Whilst there is still a need to investigate any options left to retain services at Shire Hill, there is now also the harsh reality that we need to ensure robust arrangements are put in place to ensure the right services are put in place before any change.”
In terms of next steps, first up has to be to pay tribute to the hard work of local residents and the staff from Shire Hill who have tirelessly campaigned throughout the consultation and whilst the end result is not the one we wanted, without that time and effort the proposals would not have been amended in any way to reflect the concerns that locals had.
There is also a need to investigate any options that may remain for retaining services at Shire Hill and protecting as many jobs as possible in the arrangements for the future.
Alongside that is a need to understand both the timescale for the changes and what exactly will be the level of assurance and level of service, that ‘commissioners’ will be expecting on the provision of home services – neighbourhood services across Glossopdale before proceeding with any changes and relocating the services currently at Shire Hill.
A further issue that was once again highlighted at the board meeting, was that of democratic accountability and that whilst for Tameside residents there is a clear line with several councillors on the board including the new leader of Tameside Council, the health bodies that are to be combined within this arrangement are not just Tameside based, they are Tameside and Glossop based, and whether it is from the Derbyshire County Council or from High Peak, elected representative from Glossopdale should be represented as members of that board.
Now I realise that this may not be an easy task given the wider remit of the new board and it may be the case that arrangements have to be reviewed, but if these new health arrangements are to be effective and fully include all the residents that they cover there has to be democratic accountability and engagement with the people that they affect.
You can view the papers for the board, which includes a breakdown of the consultation by clicking here