May 2018 Update

Update from Halesworth Health (HH) May 2018

You will probably have read or heard about the Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) discussion, public engagement, and final decision concerning the future of the Rayner Green Resource Centre (RGRC). This is all linked with the planned future closure of Patrick Stead Hospital (PSH). We have had several meetings with the CCG to express our local point of view, and to try to persuade the CCG to look at different options. A summary is as follows:

1 Patrick Stead Hospital, as you know, lost its inpatient beds, due to nursing staff shortages, but thanks to volunteers – through Halesworth Volunteer Centre – has continued to provide downstairs a daily service for blood tests as well as intermittent diabetic eye, and aortic aneurysm screening programmes. The plan for the future is to close the hospital completely and for the owner, NHS Property Services, (NHSPS) to sell the site, most likely to developers, although there is a local plan to try to purchase and run it as a community asset, but not for health services, (similar to what is happening in Southwold hospital).
NHSPS and the CCG also wish to close the physiotherapy building, which currently houses various outpatient services as well as physiotherapy clinics. Therefore an alternative venue for all the outpatient clinics will be needed.
Recently there was a change in the provider of the blood test service (from James Paget Hospital over to East Coast Community Healthcare) and things were initially chaotic, but we are pleased to say that a full morning service is now being offered again, for the time being, at PSH.

2 Rayner Green Resource Centre
This has been an excellent day centre for over 20 years and still is, but in a restricted way whilst under review by the CCG for the last 2 years, for people with various types of disability and often those with dementia. It has been funded jointly by the CCG and Social Services, with considerable funding donated by the PSH League of Friends, but the CCG, who pay the majority of the running costs, are no longer willing to fund this. They feel it is solely a social service and state that they do not fund a day centre anywhere else within the CCG area. We have expressed our view clearly that RGRC has been an important part of an excellent integrated health and care system which we believe is one of the reasons why the acute admission rate to district hospitals from Cutlers Hill Surgery is much lower than average for the CCG. It also plays a vital role in supporting people with dementia. The restriction on admissions for the last two years has caused considerably increased pressure on the local charity, the Dementia Carers’ Fund. However the CCG have to look at their financial situation, which in common with the rest of the NHS is in dire straits, and they are not prepared to fund this in the future. It is a very sad situation for those in need of this service, and their carers, but as a result of this decision alternative options are being considered by HH in conjunction with Social Services. Meanwhile the CCG say that they have ensured that Social Services are reviewing now the needs of all those currently attending RGRC and will offer appropriate help and support.

The CCG have taken independent professional advice and decided to convert RGRC into the new facility for all the outpatient services currently provided locally. Plans are being drawn and planning permission will be necessary, to convert and slightly expand the building as well as for the extra parking and access needed. HH have been meeting the CCG and their architect to express our concerns and try to ensure that their proposals will work practically.

We have had to accept this decision, which comes with obvious disadvantages, as well as some potential benefits, such as being more adjacent to the GP surgery. Unfortunately we could not persuade the CCG to house outpatients in a temporary building until CMC was ready, due to some uncertainty still until CMC plans are approved, as well as the cost to the CCG of temporary facilities. This was despite an offer of considerable financial support from the Patrick Stead Hospital League of Friends.

3 Castlemeadow Care, and the sports project.
Castlemeadow Care is an independent family run care home provider, which has, despite numerous setbacks, very patiently stayed and persisted with the project, despite moving to Plan B. They will still build a care home to include NHS funded beds, and also a community hub in which they have offered to provide NHS outpatient facilities. They intend also to build housing with extra care accommodation. There is currently no nursing home in Halesworth. As you will recall, if the initial project had succeeded, then CMC would by now have been established on land adjacent to the GP surgery and thus very likely accommodating all the outpatient facilities. The healthcare services would not have needed to be in this radically changing situation. Unfortunately as the Halesworth Playing Fields Association (HPFA) withdrew from the joint project, despite wide public approval after the joint public exhibition of May 2016, the playing field land was no longer available to CMC and an alternative plan had to be started in early 2017. The reluctance by HPFA to continue with the joint project has sadly delayed things by two years.
Fortunately ‘Plan B’ with CMC building on the former Middle School site, in conjunction with the exciting Campus sport and training proposals is progressing well. The option agreement has been signed for CMC to purchase the land, and a joint planning application for both healthcare and sport will soon be submitted. The CCG are still committed to having NHS funded beds with care in the CMC building and would also consider using it for outpatient facilities in the future. There is no fixed timescale for these changes other than we are told that the Rayner Green Resource Centre will close at the end of June 2018.

We will continue to keep you informed about developments, if that is your wish.
Trustees of Halesworth Health. May 27th 2018