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AIDAN BURLEY, MP FOR CANNOCK CHASE

Dr David Bennett - Chief Executive Monitor 4 Matthew Parker Street London SW1H 9NP 2 October 2012 Dear Dr Bennett, I am writing to you as I cannot make the meeting on 2nd October in person due to a meeting with local health representatives. However I wish to put my initial views to you all in writing as a substitute for not being there in person. I hope you can take them into consideration as part of the scoping phase of your study, and that they help steer you towards a locally acceptable solution to the Trusts financial problems. Cannock Hospital has been, from its inception, a community facility. Built in the late 1980s, the community fought hard to get a Hospital, lead by local hero Ethel Powell, who was recognised for her contributions with an MBE in 1990. She and the local community raised almost 1.5 million to build Cannock Hospital, and as such they feel they own it locally, and that it is not in the gift of the Trust or anyone else to sell off. Finished in 1991, the Hospital promised a new style of healthcare in the heart of Cannock, a former mining area with many residents suffering associated long term conditions such as COPD. It started with 224 in-patient beds and 112 day hospital places, 6 GP suites, a rehab centre, and outpatient clinics for most specialities. However, the hospital has moved a long way since 1991, and not in the right direction 7 wards closed and a current utilisation rate of just 40%, according to the Trust. However, this original concept of Cannock Hospital may help us to work out its future; as a community facility, with a range of outpatient clinics for patients, supported by multiple public-service providers (e.g. local councils and GPs) and based in the heart of the community. The Hospital prides itself on offering quality minor healthcare services to the local population. Its vision, to provide day to day healthcare, close at hand and under one roof, remains as important today as it did when it opened just over twenty years ago.

House of Commons, Westminster, London, SW1A 0AA Email: aidan.burley.mp@parliament.uk Tel: 020 7219 7034

AIDAN BURLEY, MP FOR CANNOCK CHASE

Local people appreciate what a fantastic facility Cannock Hospital is, and how good services such as rheumatology, orthopaedics and eye surgery are. The building is also modern and in very good order, and has many years life left in it. Local people will also not accept that the solution to the problems at Stafford is to close Cannock, which did not suffer from any of the horrendous problems that occurred at Stafford Hospital. Both Jeremy Lefroy MP and I are clear that any solution must be a two site solution, which sees both Hospitals remain open. Despite the relentless negative publicity and reputational problems that Mid Staffs Trust has encountered (which has seen it lose an estimated 3 to 8 per cent market share through lost GP referrals and patient choice), patients have remained loyal to Cannock Hospital and footfall has remained stable. However, while patient satisfaction levels have remained high, over the past 20 years we have seen the gradual downgrading and closure of key services at Cannock Hospital, including most recently the kitchens, with food now being sent over from Stafford. All of these developments have, quite legitimately, prompted fears over the possible downgrading or even closure of the Hospital, which has already fallen from nine wards to two since it opened in the 1980s. It is acknowledged that Cannock Community Hospital is currently an underutilised asset. Recent figures have suggested that the Hospital is running at just 40% capacity. Mid Staffs Chief Executive Lyn Hill-Tout said recently: We recognise that Cannock Chase Hospital is heavily underutilised and we need to make sure that the hospital is fully used. The question you must solve in your report is: how? Figures from the Trust suggest Cannock Hospital costs about 32 million a year to run, including pay and fixed costs such as lighting and heating, but it only pulls in 24 million through its provision of healthcare to local commissioners. Clearly this is unsustainable in the long term and so more needs to be done to get services into the Hospital in order to help close this deficit. This is the job of the Trust and GPs, but also in my view the wider public sector and local public service providers. That is why on 6 September 2012 I called on Cannock Chase District Council (CCDC) to investigate the feasibility of purchasing a controlling stake in Cannock Hospital to help protect the facility on behalf of local residents. I believe that the District Council could purchase all of the Estate and lease back part of it to the Trust (the 40% it uses), or part of the Estate (say 60%) and move health and social care community services into the building, including GP surgeries and walk in clinics.
House of Commons, Westminster, London, SW1A 0AA Email: aidan.burley.mp@parliament.uk Tel: 020 7219 7034

AIDAN BURLEY, MP FOR CANNOCK CHASE

That way the future of the facility, as a health and social care centre, would be retained, whilst the Trust could keep their space for existing operations and lease back more from the Council if they need it. I recently set up a Working Group panel comprised of representatives from Mid Staffs Trust, Cannock Chase District Council and other organisations running services out of Cannock Hospital to look precisely at this and other suggestions for how we can encourage both public and private sector organisations to operate services out of the hospital. The Trust itself has already made a number of suggestions about the types of services a fully utilised Cannock Hospital could provide. In a report given to Stafford and Surrounds Clinical Commission Group in June 2012 it said: The preference is to look for opportunities to use the site in a more intensive way and explore new methods for doing this including looking at partnership arrangement with other Trusts, health and social care providers and further integration with Primary and Community care or the potential to use the site to support the wider public and care sector in the area I also believe there is also an opportunity for Cannock Hospital, as part of the Trusts proposed move to an Urgent and Emergency care model, to provide not only minor injury but urgent care services taking pressure off services at both Stafford and neighbouring hospitals in Walsall and Wolverhampton. To summarise: The local community will not accept Cannock Hospital being closed or sold off to solve the deficit problems of the whole Trust. Local people raised much of the money for it to be built originally, and it has not suffered the problems of Stafford. It is also a needed facility - in Cannock alone, the population has grown by 5.8% since 2001, and the hospital can provide the very services an ageing and ever-growing local population require. However, the Trust currently will not commission enough services there to make it break even financially, and nor will the GPs send enough patients their way, despite the Cannock Clinical Commissioning Group saying it is fully committed to the continued provision of local services at Cannock Hospital. In order for the long term future of the Hospital to be protected, it needs to be fully utilised. That is why if the Trust cannot use more than 40%, and the GPs will not commission enough services in there, the local Council and other public services should step in and use the facility.

House of Commons, Westminster, London, SW1A 0AA Email: aidan.burley.mp@parliament.uk Tel: 020 7219 7034

AIDAN BURLEY, MP FOR CANNOCK CHASE

As part of your report, I hope you will explore this option: Many services currently provided to local people could be delivered from the Hospital, including those delivered by the District and County Council, GPs and other Primary Care providers. Ideally, these would all be health and social care related; however there is no reason that, for example, a number of Council offices could not be located in the Hospital, if that secured the future of the building. A local petition calling for the future of the Hospital to be guaranteed has already got the support of over 2,000 people with the number rising all the time. It would be lazy and unacceptable to simply say: close Cannock Hospital and decant services to Stafford to close the deficit, only 7m of which is caused by Cannocks underutilisation. A more innovative solution is required, which focuses on fully utilising the hospital estate, ensuring that it not only becomes financially viable but is a model for locally based community healthcare in the future. Yours sincerely,

Aidan Burley MP

House of Commons, Westminster, London, SW1A 0AA Email: aidan.burley.mp@parliament.uk Tel: 020 7219 7034