Letter: Let’s have a debate about our hospital

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Private Eye magazine recently referred to “the slow demise of Stamford Hospital . . . as the financial meltdown at its sister hospital, the £310m PFI hospital in Peterborough, has dominated the news.”

It points out that Stamford has “already lost wards and services to balance the books of the Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Foundation Trust, (and) now faces moves to axe all surgery requiring anaesthetic.”

Stamford Hospital has changed dramatically in recent years – no more in-patient beds; no service at night and weekends; no doctors in the hospital overnight; the recent closure of the pathology lab; the loss of medical cover in the minor injuries unit.

The threat to our operating theatre is real - to save more money to bail out a trust where a Monitor turn-around team has had to be brought in to deal with the failures of the board and management.

Stamford Hospital’s operating theatre is safe, efficient and popular with doctors, nurses and patients. Closing it would mark the end of the hospital as we know it. Why should this successful local service, highly-prized by residents of Stamford and surrounding areas, be asset-stripped, using the money saved to prop up mis-managed Peterborough City Hospital?

Last week’s report of the disasters at Mid-Staffs highlighted that senior managers were completely remote from what was happening.

The sort of appalling medical and nursing care reported from Mid-Staffs is far more likely to happen in large hospitals where care is impersonal and cost-driven.

Health care should be delivered as locally as possible to ensure quality.

While highly specialised care clearly needs to be delivered in bigger centres to secure efficiencies of scale and coalescence of specialist skills, much of medical care can be safely and effectively delivered in smaller local units.

Let us have a debate in the columns of the Mercury about retaining our vital local hospital.

We should also throw down a challenge to our local MP, who was quoted in your columns, when he visited the hospital last year, saying that he would support the hospital fully should its future be threatened in this way. So how about it Mr Boles? Now you actually live here, come and lend us and our facilities your support.

Chris James

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