As you will be aware, over the summer the Midlands Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust put forward their business case for the George Bryan Centre to the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Integrated Care Board, who have considered the proposal and have recommended that the relocation of inpatient services to Stafford is the better option. This means the proposal now moves on to the NHS England assurance process before coming back to the ICB to make a final decision as to whether further engagement is required.
My opposition to the business case, and any moving of inpatient services from Tamworth to Stafford, is unchanged. I have detailed my constituents' opposition to this proposal, as we all as my own personal opposition, on several occasions and for me the main pillar of disagreement is the distance Stafford is away from us, and the associated costs of having treatment so far away will affect both the patients and their families/friends. My full opposition to the business case can be seen in great detail on my website but please do contact me if you would like me to send it to you.
Throughout the summer my team and I have engaged across the NHS, Government and Local Government to make Tamworth’s argument clear – we oppose this proposal. I am particularly grateful to Cllr Jeremy Pert and the Committee he chairs at Staffordshire County Council for their engagement and for the work they have done in scrutinising this ongoing process. As well as to the League of Friends of the Tamworth Hospitals who always have, and continue, to be maintain the interest of patient welfare. I am also grateful to Tamworth Borough and Lichfield District councillors who have also made their opposition clear and have supported the combined effort for a rethink.
I want to write to you today with an update I received very recently on an independent report written by the West Midlands Clinical Senate. They have reportedly provided a number of recommendations to the George Bryan business case and so the ICB and NHS England have agreed to pause the NHS England Assurance panel for a short period of time to reflect further on this feedback. Whilst I welcome a pause that allows decision makers to reflect, I am disappointed that these recommendations are not public – it would be helpful to know what they are so we too can make use of them.
We have enquired of the West Midlands Clinical Senate as to when the report will be made public and received the following reply: “…Clinical Senates can only publish their reports with the express permission of the sponsoring organisation(s) and as agreed in our Terms of Reference. Unfortunately, this Senate review has not been published as yet. We will be contacting the sponsoring organisation(s) at the end of the month to confirm if they are happy for us to publish the report on our website at this point.” I have expressed strongly that this review should be published.
Ultimately, and importantly, a final decision has not been made - so there is still time to change the minds of the decision makers. And while this continues to be this case, I will continue to oppose the proposal to move inpatient mental health services away from Tamworth, just as I and many others have been doing for well over three and a half years now. Please do keep an eye on the MPFT, ICB and my website for any updates in the process. Meanwhile, please do continue to encourage residents to write to myself, MPFT or the ICB with their views. It is vitally important that we get as many people and groups as possible expressing their concerns about the proposed changes. Please do use this pause to best effect. You can use the examples of my own points to the Trust and ICB in your letters if you wish. The important point is to get as many people as possible to write direct or send their concerns to me so I can forward them on.