‘We have made no decision on your hospital’

Kettering General Hospital
Kettering General Hospital

As fears grow that Kettering General Hospital could see its services scaled back, the group behind the ambitious project sheds more light on the decision-making process.

The officials who have proposed plans that will shake up our health services have stressed they have not decided which hospitals could be downgraded.

This follows calls for Healthier Together to reveal its plans for Kettering General Hospital (KGH).

The Healthier Together project has reviewed services provided at KGH as well as hospitals in Bedford, Northampton, Milton Keynes and Luton and, after six months of study, the project’s management has decided on two proposals which will affect the whole group of hospitals.

Both of these proposals include three hospitals offering full accident and emergency and maternity services.

The other two hospitals would offer planned care but would not carry out emergency services and complex A&E, with patients diverted elsewhere – a proposal that sparked fears KGH could see its services downgraded.

But a spokesman for Healthier Together said: “No decisions have been made.

“We are still developing our detailed proposals and we will not decide location options until we have the right models of care.

“There will be no decisions until everyone’s feedback has been taken into account.”

Officials at Healthier Together told the Telegraph that this initial consultation is purely for views on the two models.

Once this is over the project’s team will then decide what locations could be affected and will put together a detailed proposal that will then go out to more public consultation.

Healthier Together says the project is not geared towards cost-cutting, but giving locals a more efficient service.

A Facebook group has been set up urging people to go to the Northamptonshire NHS annual meeting from 5pm on Thursday, September 27, at the service’s headquarters in Moulton Park, Northampton. It fears KGH’s special care baby unit could be axed.

The Healthier Together spokesman added: “The models say many simpler procedures could be delivered closer to patients’ homes while some more complex, specialist procedures would be concentrated on centres of excellence.

“We believe the models are consistent with what patients and local people have been telling us.”

To have your say or for more information visit www.healthiertogethersoutheastmidlands.nhs.uk.

The details propose that midwifery-led units for low-risk mothers will be based at all five hospitals, whereas women with more complex medical problems will be cared for in three specialist units. Paul Wood, obstetrician and gynaecologist at KGH, said: “Our motives for change are genuine. The findings from the maternity working group have received the support of representative clinicians from all five hospitals, including midwives. Change is never easy and we appreciate it will not be possible to please everyone.”