Only six years after I chaired Much Wenlock Town Council’s campaign to save the Lady Forester Nursing Home from sale and development for housing, the Pathway 2 rehabilitation beds (or, as we know them locally, the four GP beds) are now under threat.
The Governing Body Of Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) met on 10th August. Effectively, this is the board of directors of the organisation responsible for our local healthcare services. It is led by family doctors in Shropshire’s 44 GP practices and is responsible for buying a wide range of health services for their patients. Their website says “We are committed to involving the people of Shropshire in all major decisions about developing healthcare in the county.”
On page 93 (of 234 pages) of the agenda of their meeting is the “Disinvestment and Decommissioning Decision Paper”. It opens by saying:
“Due to the current challenging financial climate, it is important for the CCG to demonstrate that it is making the most effective use of public money to commission the right care, in the right place, at the right time within the context of our resources, and in order to deliver our statutory responsibilities, and meet the needs of the Shropshire population. To achieve this, effective commissioning arrangements and strong performance management are essential to meet these challenges, and secure the best possible healthcare for our local population.”
Tucked away on page 131 of the agenda it specifically mentions our nursing home, saying:
“Lady Forrester [sic] is located within The Much Wenlock area and the beds were initially commissioned as a local project created by GP’s 10 years ago to support patients to access resources within their own community post hospital discharge and for admission avoidance. The beds over the last 12 months have run at 100% occupancy and are a resource to support ICS with admission avoidance.”
Despite recognising that good care is provided more cheaply here than at community hospitals, closing this service in Much Wenlock:
“….In an ‘ideal world’ the recommendation would be to actually disinvest from the more costly community hospital resource. The reality is however that in the interests of expediency to release money in year the removal of the four independent beds from the system is the only option to rapidly release finances.“
In other words, our valued and value-for-money facility is likely to be sacrificed for a quick financial fix to get the CCG out of a hole. I am firmly against this proposal and, over the coming days, will be pulling together some proposals to save this invaluable resource for the wider community.
You can post comments here, or message me, but I’d find it quicker and easier if you were to email me with your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org showing the subject as “Lady Forester GP beds”.