Last year it was decided under the two NHS reviews in the Greater Manchester area ("Making it Better" and "Healthy Futures") to reduce or cut A & E, maternity and paediatric services at our local general hospital.
The final version of the Department of Health's Darzi report "High Quality Care for All" was published in June of this year, and was immediately followed by each Strategic Health Authority (SHA - 2nd tier of the health bureaucracy) publishing its own reform/consultation (Ed: shouldn't that be the other way round?) "strategic plan" within a month - the first appeared about a week after the publication of Darzi's report so they had obviously seen the report and been instructed before the public and Parliament had seen the Darzi report.
Now the SHAs have instructed the Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), Mental Healthcare Trusts, acute care hospital trusts, ambulance trusts etc etc (3rd tier of the health bureaucracy) to produce their own reform/consultation (Ed: shouldn't that be the other way round?) plans pronto.
I am happy my PCT has managed to produce a ("Speak Up, It's Your Health") website with an online questionnaire, a telephone hotline and a paper copy to every house in the borough in such quick time (something in NHS IT works?).
We have until 7 November to give our responses. Obviously not in the diverse linguistic communities of the borough - come on what is the point of putting a pamphlet in English that says "If you want a copy of this pamphlet in Urdu, then write to or telephone ..." through a letter-box in a part of town that is predominantly Urdu-speaking ?
In the last two years the local population clearly expressed its opinion in a community-led campaign "Hands Off Our Hospital" (a theme repeated up and down the country) about proposed cuts in A & E, maternity and paediatric services at our local general hospital. It even went to a final "independent" review. But maternity and paediatric services were 100 % cut and A & E is to become an "Urgent Care Centre". Admittedly, the local hospital is not the responsibility of the Primary Care Trust but another 3rd tier organisation, the Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust ...
I can only assume that they too will produce their reform/consultation plans to be popped through the letter-boxes of our town's confused residents.
What the hell is an "Urgent Care Centre" anyway?
Can it diagnose paediatric leukaemia on a Sunday afternoon?