Health battle plans

PUBLISHED: 13:59 16 March 2006 | UPDATED: 13:20 04 May 2010

HEALTH chiefs have made a dramatic U-turn and drawn up battle plans against the Government s move to create a giant reorganisation to save cash. They want to stay in control, fearing that a merger would lead to the focus on East Cambridgeshire being lost.

HEALTH chiefs have made a dramatic U-turn and drawn up battle plans against the Government's move to create a giant reorganisation to save cash.

They want to stay in control, fearing that a merger would lead to the focus on East Cambridgeshire being lost.

Originally, East Cambridgeshire and Fenland Primary Care Trust had supported plans to merge with other health providers across the county to form one large organisation.

But now they believe the move would leave patients at a disadvantage and services controlled from Cambridge would feel remote.

They also fear that £23 million of Government funding for vital services in the district, which the trust had battled for years to secure, could be lost bailing out loss-making health providers in Cambridge.

"We believe that there is a very strong argument for retaining East Cambridgeshire and Fenland PCT," said trust chairman Allyson Broadhurst.

"Historically, when services have been controlled from Cambridge, they have felt remote.

" The further away from Cambridge, the more inflexible the services tend to be.

"This has been the case in the past and we do not want to return to this.

"Bringing together East Cambs and Fenland has allowed us to develop services which are accessible to our communities in the market towns and rural areas.

"Access to diabetes services, care for older people, services for long term conditions, diabetic retinopathy, rehabilitation, and minor injuries services have all been developed to meet the needs of our community.

" The PCT board is, therefore, very concerned about the loss of local focus within a countywide PCT."

A consultation into the reorganisation plans, designed to save 25 per cent of management and administration costs nationally, has revealed "a strong level of support for retaining local PCTs," the trust claims.

Ms Broadhurst added: "We now believe the policy has changed substantially and that the proposed reorganisation is neither advantageous, or necessary, for patients in East Cambs and Fenland."

The PCT will be submitting a full response to the consultation process, which closes on Tuesday.

Huntingdonshire is campaigning to keep its PCT, too.

INFO: Residents can support the move to keep the East Cambridgeshire and Fenland PCT by filling in the online form at www.nscsha.nhs.uk, or by email at consultation@nscsha.nhs.uk. Letters can be sent to Consultation Co-ordinator, FREEPOST, Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority, Victoria House, Capital Park, Fulbourn, Cambridge, CB1 5XB.

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