Comment: Time to make your views known on the future of our NHS services (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Comment: Time to make your views known on the future of our NHS services
It is clear that local hospitals and health services remain in a state of flux and uncertainty.
The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Hospitals NHS Trust has acted to address well-documented problems, including appointment delays and patients waiting too long in A&E.
These now seem to have been overcome. But remedial action has cost money and, along with annual efficiency savings that all NHT trusts must achieve, the trust now find itself facing a huge financial challenge - to save £30m before April 2014 or become insolvent.
Insolvency would mean that Government-appointed administrators could move in and take control of the running of our local hospitals - not a prospect that most would welcome.
Against that background, staff have been warned that jobs losses have not been ruled out and have been urged to come up with ideas for savings. Sickness levels and expensive agency staff costs are being looked at. Staff have even been told to ensure they turn off computers at night to try to save cash.
It sounds fairly desperate, although the trust has assured that finance will not be put before patients’ safety.
It all comes at a time when consultants and GPs are taking a ‘root and branch’ look at all health services in the Morecambe Bay area to try to make improvements and also to save money.
It is understood nothing has been ruled in or out in terms of what - and where - services might be provided in future.
Local people are being asked to make their views about health priorities known now before recommendations are formulated. There are questionaires which can be completed and an information bus will be travelling aorund the area this month.
Consultation is a bit of a buzz word in society these days but these consultations - with trust staff and local people - really do matter.
Decisions about our health services effect everyone - and one senses some big changes could be on the way.
The time to get involved is not just later on when proposals and recommendaitons are on the table. It is right now, so that local views and preferences are firmly understood and reflected in any recommendations.