For a number of years as a local MP I have been calling for an end to the centralisation of health services in ever larger hospitals, and for more care to be moved into local community hospitals like Doddington, Ely and North Cambs which reduces travel time for patients. This week the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock MP made clear this will now be a Government priority.
Clinical data shows some health services benefit from greater centralisation, like blue lighting in an ambulance a stroke patient past certain hospitals to a specialist stroke centre which improves surgical rates. Professor Tim Briggs, one of our top surgeons, is leading a national programme on the medical specialities where a hub and spoke model applies best. But to date we have been too slow to do the other side of the coin, which is to localise those services which are less specialist, like tests and scans or pre and post operation consultations, where greater use of technology can be made on more local sites.
Having worked in Parliament to make the case for this change, the announcement this week is a major step forward. I will now work with our local Clinical Commissioning Group and hospital bosses to press for it to be delivered.
The relevant part of the Secretary of State’s speech is below: