The NHS Whipps Cross Health and Care Services Strategy, dated October 2020, made clear that 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.
Waltham Forest Council is planning over £1m new investment in social services related to the redevelopment. Sadly, Redbridge Council has been much less forthcoming and has only lately woken up to the fact that the proposals assume a greater role for social care. Any discussions between Redbridge Council and the NHS – if there have been any - take place in a murk of non-information, with questions blocked.
The NHS also has questions to answer around:
- whether the public will accept having much less access to the Emergency Department in future, even if alternative services are in place?
- concerns raised by health professional bodies 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.
The NHS has expressed its own concerns about non-responses from Transport for London. NHS plans provide for up to 40% fewer car parking spaces, based on assumptions about more patients using public transport. Yet, planning documents recently submitted to Waltham Forest Council suggest that few changes in public transport are required.
Improved public transport to Whipps Cross would be great – and is needed already – what the public can’t accept is very limited car parking along with no improvements in public transport.
The new hospital may be serving local people for decades to come and must build in flexibility for future changes in the population, for new health threats like future pandemics, and make a contribution to limiting climate change.
You can play your part by making known your views:
- You can contribute to future NHS consultation. Type ‘Future Whipps’ in any search engine to see latest developments and comment.
- 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]