Harborough council leader says people in the district will struggle to get to Glenfield Hospital amid a massive £450 million overhaul of Leicester’s three major hospitals

The Conservative council chief spoke as plans to pour £450 million into boosting Leicester hospitals’ acute hospital and maternity services got the go-ahead

By Red Williams
Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 5:26 pm
Glenfield Hospital.
Glenfield Hospital.

Harborough council leader Phil King is warning that people in the district will struggle to get to Glenfield Hospital amid a massive £450 million overhaul of Leicester’s three major hospitals.

Cllr King said local people fear they will find the trip to the hospital to the north west of Leicester much harder as services are set to be switched to Glenfield from Leicester General.

The Conservative council chief spoke as plans to pour £450 million into drastically boosting Leicester hospitals’ acute hospital and maternity services got the go-ahead.

Cllr King told the Harborough Mail: “We all want to see our health facilities improved.

“This huge transformation of Leicester’s three big hospitals is long overdue – and it needs to happen.

“But a lot of people have told me they are very concerned over how they are going to get to Glenfield Hospital.

“It’s not the most accessible place in the world from our neck of the woods,” insisted Cllr King, who’s also a county councillor.

“I’ve worked out it would take me at least 80 minutes to get there by public transport from my home in Kibworth Beauchamp.

“That’s if the buses are running on time.

“And then patients would face the same arduous journey getting home.

“The trip would take even longer from Market Harborough and some of our outlying villages.

“I share the concerns of these people.

“I have raised them with our combined CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups),” said Cllr King.

“Let’s see what they do about this.

“These are critical practical day-to-day issues that have to be properly addressed by the people who run our health services.

“I also want to see much more local delivery.

“The NHS should be focusing on the viability and deliverability of local services at our own hospitals such as St Luke’s in Market Harborough and Lutterworth Hospital.

“That would make it so much easier and less stressful for people in Harborough to be able to get and access the care and treatment that they need.”

Meanwhile, Cllr Phil Knowles, who leads Harborough council’s Liberal Democrats, told the Mail: “As far as I’m concerned the CCGs have scored a massive own goal here.

“Of course we welcome the £450 million being ploughed into making our hospitals in Leicester better.

“And the NHS has also performed well by holding such a long public consultation into this process, asking for people’s views and opinions.

“But why did the CCGs have to push this over the line this week in such a headlong rush?

“It doesn’t make any sense.

“This isn’t about scoring political points.

“This is all about forging and securing the best health services we can for thousands of people across Harborough,” said Cllr Knowles, a local health activist for over 30 years.

“The enormous report into this giant NHS blueprint runs into hundreds of pages.

“None of us had the time to read and digest all that was being proposed before the green light for this plan was given.

“I’m not a lone voice on this either.

“A lot of people feel the same as me,” declared Cllr Knowles.

“The CCGs should have done the right thing.

“They should have postponed judgement on this by 14-28 days to give us all the chance to properly understand what’s being put forward and then go back to them.”

A spokeswoman for the LLR (Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland) CCGs told the Mail: “We are delighted that our £450 million hospital plans can become a reality thanks to public feedback and the outcome of our consultation.

“It’s very encouraging to know public support for the proposals generally has been very strong, demonstrating that most local people agree with and welcome the plans.

“All views obtained through consultation have been considered within the context of the Report of Findings and have informed the Decision Making Business Case (DMBC).

“This has been important to ensure that our plans reflect the needs of all our communities across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.”

She added: “Strong views expressed around travel and access have been taken into consideration in the creation of a Travel Action Plan which will see ongoing engagement and improvements to travel and access across the three sites.

“There will also be an increase in public car parking at Leicester Royal Infirmary and Glenfield Hospital sites as well as a focus on continuing to deliver more outpatient activity both remotely and in the community.

“The DMBC discussed at yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) Governing Body meeting is a technical document based on the evidence set out in the Pre-Consultation Business Case (PCBC), feedback from the consultation and any other evidence compiled post-consultation.

“The Governing Bodies of the CCGs were required to consider the DMBC, including how feedback from the consultation process, which gathered more than 5,500 responses, informed our thinking and final plans.

“The document was published on the day of the Governing Body meeting to protect the integrity of the decision-making process given the high level of interest in this item.

“As is normal process NHS partners fully anticipate appearing before the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee to explain how yesterday’s decisions were reached and how the views of the public and other stakeholders informed them alongside both the clinical and financial cases as well as holding a public event to explain how the consultation informed our final decisions.”

Acute services are now poised to be moved to Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI) and Glenfield Hospital.

The LRI will also get a new “state-of-the-art maternity hospital”.

Maternity services (pregnancy, childbirth and post-pregnancy) and neonatal services will be switched from Leicester General to the LRI.

A new Children’s Hospital, including a consolidated children’s intensive care unit, will also be set up at the LRI.