Ann Coffey


Stockport Express Column – October 2013

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Recently there has been a lot of discussion about how hospital and GP services should respond to advances in medical care and an ageing population. Should there be more specialist hospitals? Should more people be nursed at home?

I am very interested in people’s views about the future shape of the NHS.  Clearly judging by the response to my questionnaire the NHS matters to people.

In relation to more specialist hospitals the view was that it was a good idea to have that kind of concentrated medical expertise. .Many of the people who wrote to me recounted positive experiences of their treatment at specialist hospitals such as Manchester Royal Infirmary and Manchester Children’s Hospital. However people were concerned about transport issues for those who didn’t have cars.

People were sceptical that there would be the quality and access to nursing and social care in the community to support nursing people at home as an alternative to hospital. I would agree that there needs to be much more money spent in the community both in nursing and social care before beds are taken out of local hospitals.

I also asked people why they thought more people than ever went to A&E at Stepping Hill . The general view was this was because of the limited hours GP surgeries were open.. The view was also expressed that people go to A&E because they are confident that if there is something wrong with them they will get immediate treatment.

My conclusion looking at some of the initial responses to my questionnaire is that to get any public support for less beds in local hospitals a lot of work will have to be done to convince people that there will be substantial changes in the way that GPs deliver primary care and that there will be the resources to support that move from less hospital care to more community care.