Letter: Help save district community hospital

Letter writer David Fish is concerned for the future of the Feilding Palmer Hospital in Lutterworth...

I am writing to the Harborough Mail about the future of Feilding Palmer Hospital in Lutterworth.

Three months ago, Mr Costa MP messaged one of our activists confirming the proposed closure of Lutterworth’s Hospital. I have a copy.

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I then reviewed our two adjacent hospitals Hinckley and Harborough and I discovered that both had been saved by development, offering more on their sites. Harborough has been a great success with 47,000 secondary care consultations in its first year.

I found examples of cottage hospitals being developed, such as in Whitby and others closed, such as in Wantage.

During the past six months our health secretary has called for preservation of cottage hospitals and the cancer strategy has called for more investigation centres doing X-rays, CT scans, endoscopy and ultrasound, for earlier diagnosis and shorter waits. Hinckley will have a new internal endoscopy department to support the whole of Leicestershire.

I believe that our clinical commissioning group should pump prime a development by commissioning development plans from the NHS.

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St Thomas NHS Trust has such a evidence based architectural unit. The key, that would make this proposal possible, is that once plans are developed, that the capital cost will be funded outside the NHS – Section 106 from house building, industrial warehouse rates, local fund raising and annual fundraising for non NHS requirements.

The capital cost would be free to the NHS, such as in Whitby and others.

The proposal could include maximum use of the current Feilding Palmer site including an 0utpatient elderly health assessment unit allowing for in depth investigation without admission to hospital, similar to previous “five day units” in district general hospitals.

There could be a fit for purpose, modern square footage in-patient department with garden access for rooms.

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A day centre for people who are elderly – possibly would be paid for.

There could be video link and other IT communication facilities for remote digital health care.

Moderate radiological or ultrasound unit for planned investigations, adding to whole Leicestershire capacity, in view of the recent new NHS vision for cancer wait reduction.

There could be a teaching unit and various transport options such as a free to user volunteer transport service, good car parking and buses.

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Developers could retain and re-use the shell of the building with a new build behind

This letter is a copy of a letter that I wrote this morning to Mr Costa MP and our commissioners. There is a real alternative to closure and I believe that we should do some planning to test if development and not closure is possible.

David Fish, by email