As Blyth county councillors, we are very concerned regarding the news from Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) that Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has decided that Blyth Community Hospital is no longer in its thinking and all surgical beds will remain mothballed, unless required for winter pressure work.
In future, surgical beds for all high risk patients will be available at Cramlington; general surgery requiring overnight stays at North Tyneside or Hexham; orthopaedic surgery at Wansbeck District Hospital; day surgery at Wansbeck, North Tyneside, Hexham and Alnwick.
There will be an orthopaedic ward at each of the general hospitals.
This illustrates that, yet again, when it comes to taking the effects of Tory cuts head-on in Northumberland, Blyth, the county’s largest town, is where those cuts will take place.
As a town we have five wards in the top ten per cent of most deprived wards in England and some of the lowest levels of access to personal vehicles nationally as a percentage of population.
Travel to some of these hospitals will be almost impossible for many relatives to access, and having hospital beds locally was a boon towards achieving betterment through social interaction.
The CCG briefing releasing this news also states that “this will enhance the experience and outcomes for patients”.
That may be the thoughts of medics and their finance officers who manage the budget cuts each year, but for concerned family members of an ‘enhanced patient’ it’s a worry they should not experience.
Blyth Labour county councillors Deirdre Campbell, Susan Davey, Eileen Cartie, Gordon Webb, Grant Davey