At the Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Board meeting on 14th September the Chair, Dr Julian Povey, received a petition from Mrs Linda Davies, Chair of the League of Friends of Lady Forester Nursing Home, Much Wenlock, with regards to the proposed closure of community beds at the home. The petition contained 1,423 signatures objecting to the proposed closure. Linda read a statement in support of the petition.
Dr Povey then invited me to raise my question in relation to Lady Forester Nursing Home. I had requested a number of letters from the local MP, Town Council, GP practice and Nursing Home be circulated to Governing Body Members in advance of the meeting. Dr Povey reported that unfortunately the CCG had been unable to do this prior to the meeting but it was agreed that the letters would be circulated after the meeting. I asked why the CCG was considering closing the Pathway 2 rehabilitation beds (“GP beds”) at the Lady Forester Nursing Home in Much Wenlock when they, by the CCG’s own admission, provided better value for money than the alternatives? I also enquired about consultation – I was pleased to read in the policy document that consultation would include engaging with patients, carers, the public and other stakeholders and asked how the CCG intended to consult and at what point in what seemed to be a very short time-frame of four weeks? Also for how long and by what means?
The Chief Executive, David Evans acknowledged that the CCG was in a very difficult financial situation and needed to undertake a process to look at potential areas for disinvestment/decommissioning. Mr Evans emphasised that no decisions had been made in relation to the Lady Forester Nursing Home beds and that the process continued to be followed. Dr Julie Davies reported that the Task & Finish Group was working through stage 4 of the Decommissioning and Disinvestment Interim Policy and that part of the process would be to agree and undertake engagement and consultation on a service-by-service basis as required.
This provided little comfort, and I was therefore pleased that, on 6th October, the League of Friends turned up to Shropshire’s Health & Wellbeing Board meeting held in Shrewsbury.
Much Wenlock’s Team Rector, Revd Matthew Stafford, made a statement about local care and his personal experiences of rehabilitation beds locally and their value across a range of measures.
Both the League of Friends and I have put written questions to the next meeting of the CCG, which is to be held at 9:30am on Wednesday 12th October at Shrewsbury Town Football Club. This is not a public meeting, but a meeting held in public. Members of the public may attend.