The future of the Princess of Wales in Ely is troubling many people in the area. A petition to keep services going has reached over 4,000 signatures.
There are many advantages to the local delivery of healthcare services. In fact, in its document Fit for the Future, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group identified that they undertook ‘listening events’ in 2015 and were told that: (a) when patients need care urgently, they would rather use a local service than be sent to A&E; and (b) patients want care as close to home as possible. Thus recognising that local services were important to local people.
It is critical that the CCG listens to these views and takes them into consideration when determining the solutions for our local unit.
Over the summer I have spent time trying to find out more about the CCG’s intentions, the reasons they conducted the review, and the solutions being considered.
In July, I spoke to Dr Gary Howsam, Clinical Chair of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG, about the plans for the MIU and the outpatients service and impressed upon him the importance of local care.
In August, I attended a very productive meeting organised by County Councillor, Anna Bailey, with representatives from the CCG and Councillors from all parties, across the County. At that meeting, the CCG told us that they are asking themselves the question “Could there be a better service for patients that is more cost effective?”. Both the Councillors and I made clear that a better service is not a less local service.
I subsequently wrote to the CCG following up on questions raised and am still awaiting a response.
Next week, I will be meeting further with Councillors to discuss the way forward. The week after, I will be meeting again with the CCG, Steve Barclay MP and others to impress upon the CCG the importance of local provision.
I will continue fighting to ensure that healthcare services at the Princess of Wales are retained and I will keep you updated.