Halesworth Health Update February 2018

The NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group have now begun a 4 week public engagement exercise into the future of the Patrick Stead Hospital site, which will run from Monday 5th February 2018 until 5th March 2018. The proposal would mean the formal closure of the Patrick Stead Hospital, being in line with the CCG’s decision to develop new out of hospital services to provide care in patients’ own homes following its Shape of the System public consultation in 2015. The proposal also would see the health and social day care services currently provided from Rayner Green ceasing and no longer being funded by the NHS. The CCG recently agreed in November 2017 ,£1.3m to fund a South Waveney – Out of hospital team, beds with care and a new minor injury service, which would become effective from 1st January 2018. With these new services in place, they no longer have a need to provide in-patient-beds at PSH, and with only outpatient services on site, the hospital, physiotherapy block and most of the surrounding land would be put up for sale.

All the services currently provided from the main hospital building; phlebotomy, diabetic eye screening and the abdominal aortic aneurysm clinic, which have been provided from the hospital for the last 12 months due to the support of, meet & greet volunteers, co-ordinated by Halesworth Volunteer Centre, would be transferred to the Rayner Green Resource Centre Building. All East Coast Community Healthcare services currently provided from the Physiotherapy Block; physio, podiatry, continence, lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), occupational therapists and neurology specialist nurse clinics, would also be transferred into the Rayner Green Resource Centre. Once the public engagement exercise is complete, a final decision about the services provided on site will be agreed at the CCG Governing Body meeting on 22nd March 2018.

While we welcome the continuation of vital services such as phlebotomy, physio, and podiatry in Halesworth, we are however disappointed and saddened at the closure of the day care services currently provided in Rayner Green. The excellent service which has been provided by the team at RGRC for over 20 years, and financially supported by the League of Friends of Patrick Stead Hospital, provides service users and their carers’ with a better quality of life and reduces the risk of unnecessary hospital admissions. The fact that admissions to the centre have been frozen for the last 18 months has had a huge impact on the Halesworth dementia Carers’ Fund, who are caring for people at considerable financial cost. HdCF provide much needed care for those with dementia, enabling family carers to have a much needed break from their 24 hour role of care for their loved one. Due to the demand of this service over the past year the current 20 families who are supported by HdCF are receiving an allocation of 2 hours respite a week, which will be reviewed when finances improve. We believe that day care services are essential for Halesworth, enabling people to remain independent in their own homes for longer.

Halesworth Health has been involved in discussions with the CCG, with a view to retaining the day care provided at RGRC and alternative options for the location of outpatients. Plans are moving forward well for the new healthcare facility, Castlemeadow Care, which will be adjacent to the Halesworth Campus Ltd – Sport and Leisure site. The CMC Nursing Care Home will include NHS funded beds with care, as well as private residential and nursing beds, social day care, housing with extra care and a community hub. The signing of the option agreement between CMC and HCL is imminent, with the planning application ready to be submitted and should be obtained by the summer of 2018. It is then envisaged the Castlemeadow Care facility will be ready for use by early 2020. Hopefully all outpatient services along with social day care will be provided here. It is very unfortunate timing, as CMC would have been built and ready to accept the outpatient services this year on the HPFA land adjacent to the surgery, if the initial joint project hadn’t failed when HPFA regrettably withdrew. We have explored with the CCG the option of retaining day care at RGRC, keeping the hospital open for a further 2 years, running as it is with the support of volunteers, or using a temporary building for outpatients until CMC is ready, but they insist that these options would be too costly and there is no alternative. The CCG also state that they will no longer fund the day care services.

People can share their views on an online survey, until 5th March, by visiting https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/rayner_green/ or there are paper copies available to complete in Halesworth Library. Please do make your thoughts and feelings known

In the meantime we are in discussions with Suffolk County Council and Social Services, looking at options to enable provision of social day care services in Halesworth for the interim period. We will keep you updated with progress.