Better use of Wisbech hospital site on agenda at MP’s health summit

MP Steve Barclay at the health summit
MP Steve Barclay at the health summit
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Better use of Wisbech’s North Cambs Hospital was top of the agenda at a health summit hosted by local MP Steve Barclay.

The North East Cambs MP, who has been pushing for better healthcare provision in this area since he was elected, launched a “Treat me local” health campaign this summer with a 10-point wishlist.

One of Mr Barclay’s biggest concerns is the apparent neglect of North Cambs Hospital at Wisbech which has large areas that are unused.

He wants to see better end of life care provided for the Fens and believes Rowan Lodge at the hospital, which is currently unoccupied, would make an ideal location for a Fenland hospice.

The 10-point health campaign wants to see more services provided within the community including satellite oncology units so cancer patients can receive their life-saving treatment closer to home.

Blood testing within GP surgeries so doctors can determine whether or not a patient has a deep vein thrombosis, which would cut unnecessary trips to hospital is also on the list.

The health summit, held at the South Fens Business Centre on November 14, was attended by a host of NHS bosses including Andrew Reed, Area Director for NHS England, Maureen Donnelly chairman of the Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Liz Robyn Director of Public Health Cambs County Council and also a number of local GPs.

The aim was to discuss how health services can be improved locally and what progress has been made since the campaign’s launch.

Mr Reed agreed there was a need to see more provision at North Cambs Hospital and said he would be pursuing a number of the ideas flagged up during the two-hour discussions.

Mrs Donnelly said the summit would act as a catalyst to stimulate changes that would see improvements to Fenland and East Cambridgeshire health services and agreed a plan was needed to ensure best use of the North Cambs Hospital site.

Two of the campaign’s 10 points: bereavement counselling and health trainers for Chatteris, Manea and Doddington surgeries have already seen success.

Cruse Bereavement Care has re-launched its service in the Fenland area after it was suspended at the start of the year due to a lack of volunteers in the area.

However, more volunteers have now been found and are due to start a training course early in the new year with up to six places being funded by a donation of £1,500 secured by Mr Barclay from Tesco as compensation for failing to open the Chatteris store this autumn.

Health trainers are set to be provided in the south of Fenland from April when a new contract begins.

Dr Robyn explained they are currently going through a tendering process for health trainer provision and the aim is to include Chatteris, Manea and Doddington along with surgeries already benefiting from the service in Wisbech, March and Whittlesey in the new contract.

Summing up Mr Barclay said: “The summit has been very useful. We have looked at practical solutions on how we can improve many aspects of health care including a single point of access for dementia carers, whether we can combine out of hours doctors with the minor injuries units, and having intravenous therapies administered within the community.

“It has been a very positive meeting and I hope those responsible for providing health care in our area will now go away and come back with plans on how they are going to improve the services offered in our area.”