Mr. Rowbotham, Director of Adult Social Care, commented on
his slide show as follows
The NHS Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group is his principal health partner, co-located in the Council Offices and with some shared staff. (Slide 1.)
“There is no in-borough acute hospital provision which is peculiar factor for a borough of this size.” The hospitals “are highly challenged both financially and operationally. The Princess Royal Hospital is part of Kings’ which has an infamous overspend situation”. (Slide 2.)
“The winter just gone was one of the most difficult with significant breaches of A&E waiting times at almost all of the hospitals. The pressures flowed through to Social Care, in particular cost pressure.”
“Queen Mary’s is now a very successful site providing a wide range of crucial health services.”
“The services provided by Erith Hospital are valued by residents but badly in need of review. Radiology is provided from a World War II bunker and the hardware is badly in need of replacing and it is difficult to recruit and retain radiologists. It that goes you cannot run an urgent care centre. The hospital will likely need to be reconfigured”.
“The GP service is very much under pressure in London, there needs to be some clever thinking about how to make the best use of qualified general practitioners.”
Vice- Chairman Richard Diment described a recent visit to the stroke unit HQ which is in Maidstone. Their facilities cover an area extending from Bexley all the way down to East Sussex. Five sites have been identified as potential stroke units. Darenth Valley, Medway, Maidstone, Ashford and Tunbridge Wells. Clinically (based on numbers of patients) there should be two units but for geographical reasons there will have to be three. “No decisions have been made at this stage.”
Last year just over 200 Bexley residents went to Darenth Valley for stroke treatment so “to have Darenth Valley chosen as one of the centres is very important.” Bexley Council can only express an opinion, it can exercise no direct control but it could appeal to the Secretary of State.
Councillor Alan Downing emphasised that rehabilitation for stroke patients is vital and it needs to be near where they live.
Councillor James Hunt said that “there were lots of rumours about Erith Hospital following the withdrawal of out-patients services there so timelines around the future of Erith Hospital would be good to hear”.
He was told that the Council was having regular meetings with the health providers. “There is a threat but also very much an opportunity”, a statement which is unlikely to dispel the rumours.
Stuart Rowbotham - left. James Hunt - right.