Recommendations to secure the long-term future of both Inverclyde Royal and Royal Alexandra Hospitals were approved today by the Board, following unprecedented levels of public support.
The vast majority of people who responded to the public consultation supported the recommendations, which aim to retain core inpatient services locally.
Under the proposed new arrangements, which have now been submitted to the Scottish Executive for formal approval, Inverclyde Royal Hospital would keep its A&E department and core inpatient services such as emergency medical receiving, trauma, orthopaedic and general surgery.
The recommendations would also see A&E and core inpatient services retained at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.
The changes proposed only affect a small number of specialist services, which are vascular surgery, ENT, ophthalmology, dermatology and urology. The plan is to centralise inpatient care for these services within centres of excellence in either Paisley or Glasgow while maintaining local access for outpatient appointments and follow-up day care.
These changes are only likely to affect around 500 patients per year at Inverclyde Royal Hospital and less than 900 patients per year at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. This is in comparison with the 37,000 patients at Inverclyde Royal Hospital (25% of total activity) who would have been affected if the original proposal put forward by the former NHS Argyll and Clyde Board to transfer A&E and all inpatient care from Inverclyde to Paisley had gone ahead.
Professor Sir John Arbuthnott, Chair of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “We knew that local people and frontline staff did not want to see core services removed from Inverclyde nor did they want to see additional pressures placed on existing A&E and inpatient wards at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.
“We did not, however, expect to receive so many responses from people who supported our plans as it is more common to hear from people who oppose proposed changes. This has certainly not been the case during this consultation as we even received a response from a member of the public who organised a local petition to back our plans for the two hospitals!”
Dr Liz Jordan, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Associate Medical Director for Clyde, said: “While the vast majority of feedback has been positive we did receive a number of responses from individuals who were concerned about some of the proposed changes to specialist services. We have therefore made a commitment to work with local patients and carers to take forward plans to redesign the way we deliver inpatient care for these services.”
While these recommendations focus on core hospital services in South Clyde, work is also underway to review acute hospital services in North Clyde. This is being carried out as part of a wider review of health needs and services across West Dunbartonshire.
Work is also underway to review a number of health services across Clyde including mental health and maternity services and a separate review is underway to examine older people’s care and services at Johnstone Hospital.
It is important that any proposed changes arising from the service reviews are implemented as soon as possible to help tackle the annual £30m funding gap for services within the Clyde area and achieve financial balance by the end of 2008/09.
For more information contact NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Communications on 0141 201 4429.