Whipps Cross Hospital Redevelopment – are we ‘buying’ it?
The Wanstead Guardian reported on 18 March that Redbridge councillors ‘are “simply not buying” claims a new hospital will be able to support a growing population with fewer beds.’ Councillors have agreed to seek an independent assessment of the case for having 51 fewer beds in the new hospital. See:
The NHS Whipps Cross Health and Care Services Strategy, dated October 2020, made clear that the proposals to reduce hospital beds and the overall space of the hospital are based on "improved integrated working" with both NHS primary care and the local authorities – including Redbridge Council.
Sadly, it seems that Redbridge Council has only lately woken up to the fact that the proposals assume a greater role for social care.
There are legitimate questions around –
- whether the public will accept having much less access to the Emergency Department in future, even if alternative services are in place?
- whether the public’s willingness to have virtual consultations during a pandemic will be the same for the long-term future? Professional bodies have raised concerns about over-reliance on virtual consultations.
England has fewer intensive care beds than health services in comparable countries, one reason why the NHS came close to being overwhelmed in the pandemic.
Plans for the site with new housing look very densely built, presumably to raise capital. Is the Government is actually funding any of the capital costs of the redevelopment? We must hope that Government savings are not the main driver of this project, rather than local needs.
The new hospital should be a great opportunity for the NHS and for local people in Redbridge and neighbouring areas. It is sad that a pathological aversion to being open with the public by both the NHS and Redbridge Council make us doubt whether this opportunity will be seized as it should be.
What can you do?
- You can contribute to future NHS consultation on this. Type ‘Future Whipps’ in any search engine to see latest developments and opportunities to contribute.
- Write to the chair of Redbridge Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee, Councillor Neil Zammett – [email protected]
Please let us know your views by e-mailing [email protected]