MPs renew cross-party bid for extra Kettering General Hospital funding

MPs Peter Bone, Andy Sawford and Philip Hollobone after meeting minister Dan Poulter in Whitehall in January last year
MPs Peter Bone, Andy Sawford and Philip Hollobone after meeting minister Dan Poulter in Whitehall in January last year

Our three MPs have put party allegiances aside to present a united front in the battle for more funding for Kettering General Hospital.

The town’s MP Philip Hollobone joined fellow Conservative Peter Bone and Labour’s Andy Sawford to press health minister Dan Poulter for £30m to improve urgent care services in north Northamptonshire.

Also at the meeting, which took place at the Department of Health today (Tuesday, January 13), were representatives of local health bodies, including hospital chief executive David Sissling.

The meeting comes a year after an initial meeting with Dr Poulter and two years after the trio launched their cross-party initiative to save services at the Rothwell Road site.

And Mr Hollobone said Dr Poulter had been impressed with the bid and would now urge health regulator Monitor to approve the creation of a new urgent care centre at the hospital – something he described as being akin to a one-stop shop for people to be treated without being passed between departments.

It would be the first of its kind in the country.

Mr Hollobone added: “I must pay tribute to Kettering General Hospital and the local GPs who have worked together magnificently to deliver this concept.

“Not only would it provide high-quality treatment but it would provide £2.5m a year in financial savings which could be ploughed back into the local NHS.

“I don’t think today’s meeting could have gone any better.”

Mr Sawford said: “Over recent days Kettering General has had to ask people not to come to A&E unless they really need to because it can’t cope with demand on its services. The doctors and nurses at the hospital are doing an excellent job, but we’re in one of the fastest-growing areas of the country and we need to invest in the hospital if we are going to meet the needs and expectations of local residents.

“It is great that local MPs are able to put party politics aside and work together, along with the hospital and local health groups, to draw up this important proposal for investment in Kettering General.”

Kettering General Hospital’s Chief Executive, David Sissling, said: “We believe the proposed development is innovative, forward looking and aligned with national policy.

“Clearly our aim would be to have a system for urgent care that meets the needs of local people and enables them to be seen by the right people in the right place.

“An added benefit of such a development should be a more efficient use of health and social care resources in the county achieved through close partnership working.

“That is an important consideration and we hope that in the long term this approach will prevent the inappropriate use of resources which can be very expensive.

“This integrated approach is also something that NHS England has highlighted is an important principle in its Five Year Forward View for the NHS and it also fits with the county’s Healthier Northamptonshire programme which focuses on collaborative work.”

Dr Miten Ruparelia, Clinical Vice Chair for Corby Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The pressures being experienced by local healthcare services are well-documented. The idea of a new Urgent Care Hub at Kettering General Hospital is an exciting and innovative proposal which we welcome.

“It would involve a wide range of health professionals working together to improve access and transform care for the benefit of local people. It fits well with our long term Clinical Commissioning Group strategic plan.”

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive, Angela Hillery, said: “As local NHS providers of a wide range of inpatient and community health and wellbeing services, we recognise the benefits of collaborative working across the health and social care economy.  This is particularly important in responding to the urgent care issues facing the NHS in the county so that the people of Northamptonshire have quality services that meet their needs. We look forward to hearing the outcomes of this new proposal and remain committed to continue to work in partnership with our colleagues to develop and deliver those solutions.”

There is evidence that NHS and social care has become complex and confusing for the public with multiple options including NHS 111, minor injury care, GPs, pharmacists and numerous services that seek to support older patients in community.

While most people continue to see their GPs/pharmacists for routine care during normal working hours a trend has emerged where, out of hours especially, people are visiting A&E as a default option.

Kettering General Hospital’s Director of Urgent Care, David Bowden, said: “The Hub would help to make urgent care easier to understand for local people.

“It would ensure that people get quick, appropriate and safe care to meet their needs. It would be a destination where most things that you need will all be under one roof – regardless of which health or social care organisation provides that service.

“We know that the public can be confused by all the NHS options available to them. We hope the Urgent Care Hub will simplify things so that people will get appropriate care all in one place.”

Read more Kettering news here.