Open Letter To:
Permeant Secretary – Richard Pengelly
Mid Ulster Council CEO – Anthony Tohill
NHSCT CEO – Anthony Stevenson
Department Of Health
I am writing to you regarding the Reshaping Your Stroke Care consultation, more specifically the road shows.
As of the 19/6/19 The Trust, Council and Permanent Secretary have responded that they have received the request. As of yet no road show has been provided despite an extra road show being added in the Fermanagh area.
Health managers have failed in this aspect and now with the current proposals regarding Stoke services residents in Mid Ulster are facing more service changes that can adversely affect lifesaving services available to them.
I will draw your attention to a report carried by the British Medical Journal “Feasibility of a hyper-acute stroke unit model of care across England: a modelling analysis” (https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/7/12/e018143) , it is apparent that the only information provided to the public by The Department supports the Departments position to reduce and remove services.
I will remind the department that the NHSCT is the largest residential Trust in Northern Ireland, it is also spread over a large rural area, when acute A&E services were removed modelling based on cities in England was used. The very same modelling we are using for Stroke services.
One example used when A&E’s were being downgraded using city modelling was Birmingham however Birmingham does not have lough Neagh in the middle of it, the Sperrin Mountains, the Glens of Antrim or Fermanagh’s waterways. The same type of modelling used to reshape acute A&E care collapsed the system and there is the possibility that this could happen again.
- I will put on record that this consultation should not be taking place without a full review of acute care taking place in tandem as the outcome of this will prejudice the outcome of building a new acute care system in Northern Ireland. To me this is a deliberate act by government and could face legal challenges in the future from various communities.
- I am requesting that the department hold a road show at suitable venue in Magherafelt or Cookstown so that rural residents who already suffer from a chronic lack of life saving services can be better aware of the consultation and to give the department a better understanding of rural people’s concerns and needs.
- I urge The CEO of Mid Ulster Council to provide free of charge a suitable venue to help residents in Mid Ulster have their say.
- I also urge that CEO of the NHSCT backs holding a meeting of residents in Mid Ulster to reassure residents if he hopes to gain their support for services to be retained in Antrim.