Here’s a leaked email from Dr David King, critical care consultant at Southend Hospital, to his colleagues, in which he said proposals to create one main emergency department would be “an absolute disaster.”
Dear all, regarding the potential proposals of the success regime to remove all inpatient medicine and acute surgery from one site (ie Southend Hospital).
How on earth do you expect the “emergency hospital” (ie Basildon) to cope with the extra demand? This would be an absolute disaster in terms of patient safety.
The solution to three hospitals all stretched to the limit is not to send hundreds of acute care patients to an already overstretched hospital down the road.
Of course some services need to be reconfigured , but removing acute care from Southend will result in Basildon being unable to cope with the increased demand, and so urgent care patients will simply wait longer with all the predictable deterioration in clinical condition.
Calls for us to be more “radical” and “revolutionary” forget that people die in revolution – in this case the victims will be the elderly and vulnerable of Essex.
One of the first stated principles of the Success Regime was “no new expensive rebuild.” Yet when we ask how will Basildon cope with extra demand we are told that there is room to build.
The Critical Care Unit at Basildon is the most overstretched of the three units already, so how will all the acute care patients have timely access to critical care?
I fear that a central attempt to cut and ration services by reducing capacity is being portrayed as a way of “reconfiguring services “ and “improving outcomes.”
Outcomes for acute care patients will in fact be worse as an already stretched hospital is asked to cope with a massive increase in demand, predictably this results in medical errors and lack of timely care .
I would like to make clear that I am not opposing change – only ill thought out dangerous proposals which are likely to result in deterioration in acute care as an attempt to save money.