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MP and doctors leader split over Stafford Hospital vote result

By Staf Newsletter  |  Posted: February 18, 2014

By Gail Atkinson

MP and doctors leader split over Stafford Hospital vote result
Comments (6)

STAFFORD MP Jeremy Lefroy says a vote by doctors has raised “serious concerns” about the plans for Stafford Hospital.

Those concerns will be passed on to the Secretary of State but the head of Stafford and Surrounds CCG said the vote proved doctors supported the plans.

Mr Lefroy said he was disappointed after doctors snubbed a vote on plans for Stafford Hospital.

Nearly three quarters of the borough’s doctors didn’t vote on the plans which will see Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust dissolved and services diverted from Stafford.

The turnout from Stafford and Surrounds CCG for the vote organised by Mr Lefroy and three other MPs was 27.44 per cent.

Of those 19 agreed with the plans for the hospital with six saying they disagreed; 19 agreed with plans for Cannock Hospital with four disagreeing.

Only 13.9 per cent of Cannock’s doctors voted in the anonymous ballot. Of those 10 agreed with the proposals for Cannock Hospital with six saying they didn’t agree.

The same number – 10 – said they agreed with plans for Stafford Hospital while seven disagreed.

Overall doctors voted my more than two to one – 29 to 13 - to agree with the plans for Stafford Hospital.

The vote was more decisive for plans for Cannock Hospital with nearly three times as many agreeing – 29 to 10.

Mr Lefroy said: “There are serious concerns among GPs about the proposals that need to be taken into account. We asked GPs if they wished to outline specifics areas for comment on a strictly confidential basis. We are going through those submissions at the moment and will send the details of those to the Secretary of State and the CCGs very shortly.”

Andy Donald, chief officer of Stafford and Surrounds and Cannock Chase CCGs, said: “The turn out across both Stafford and Surrounds and Cannock Chase Clinical Commissioning Groups was 25 per cent and the majority of respondents were in favour of the TSA’s recommendations.

“We note the low turnout and ballot results. We are pleased that the result has confirmed that overall as we have said throughout the process, there is a GP consensus that the TSA’s recommendations should be supported.

“Subject to the Secretary of State’s approval of the TSA report, it is hoped now that we can work with our communities and the health economy to get the best services possible for the communities of Stafford and Cannock in which we serve.”

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6 comments

  • Staffpatient  |  February 18 2014, 5:16PM

    Hardly instills confidence in our GPs if they cannot be bothered to answer the simplest of questions taking no more than a few minutes of their precious time. Hardly an overwhelming majority in favour of the TSA proposals either, Mr Donald must have a different dictionary to the rest of us. How would it appear if the population of Stafford and the Surrounds after much consideration decided that those who did nto bother to vote, we can guess who they are if we have had conversations with them about the proposals, decided that our best interests were not being met by our GPs that it was time to leave their lists and co on to those who are?

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  • Baffled5  |  February 18 2014, 3:59PM

    I am completely baffled as to how over 80% anti TSA proposals or non-return of ballot can be seen as a ringing endorsement of the proposals (as argued by the CCG). It is very disappointing that GP's didn't take this opportunity to let their feelings be known on such an important issue.

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  • Donna Hickey  |  February 18 2014, 3:48PM

    I certainly do not think it is a vote in favour of the proposals how can Andy Donaldson say that. 81% of GPS didn't vote at all how can that be an endorsement. If 81% had voted a responding yes than yes that's endorsement but they didn't. If most people are not totally in agreement with something they would usually abstain from voting that in my experience is the case. Take a local election (I know not totally the same) but don't councillors say its a low turn out is because people are punishing the main party if they are not happy! This to me is the same a low turn out speaks volumes! To me. Our Gps are not happy with things and didn't say yes but also importantly did not say NO in a loud voice to support getting rid of our life saving services.

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  • GailG  |  February 18 2014, 3:33PM

    I am very disappointed at such a low response rate, both in Cannock and Stafford. However, one thing is certain - this is NOT a vote of support for the TSA plans. You cannot say that not voting supports a particular viewpoint - if you could, then all the political parties would be vying to count the non voters among their supporters! At best it shows a lack of enthusiasm -at worst, a rejection - from the very people who have the responsibility of making this system function. The CCG does not seem to have the support of doctors if this turnout is anything to go by. In my experience, not voting is a sign of either apathy (unlikely in so vital an issue I think) or a simple belief that it's all a waste of time and you have better things to do. National polling of GPs is now showing that they are starting to doubt the government plans to devolve so much of the work previously done in hospitals to local (non-existent) services - well, better late than never is all I can say to that. I think they are finally waking up to the fact that this devolved health services plan is simply a way of saying "not our fault - the GPs locally made these decisions" and so get central government off whatever hook it is currently on. If GPs had supported these plans and thought we were all so wildly out of step, one would think they'd have voted to say so overwhelmingly. They didn't. This fight is not yet over.

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  • Gsrry Marshall  |  February 18 2014, 2:54PM

    What I am most concerned about, is the perception that some people may have, that by the large number of GP's staying silent, it may seem they endorse the TSA proposals by default, the GP's need to grow a pair, in my own opinion, voicing their opposition to the TSA proposals is vital on such an important issue as our hospital, and cannot be left to a guessing game of who really thinks and supports what? After all, this is Stafford people's health and well-being we are talking about here, I think everyone should be badgering their doctors to openly come out and say how they really feel, and show support for keeping services at our hospital, unless it is those few doctors that do genuinely believe the TSA decision is the right one for Stafford.

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  • geoff small  |  February 18 2014, 1:48PM

    The CCG have a strange interpretation of the word 'consensus'. In his response to the GP ballot results the chief officer says: 'as we have said throughout the process, there is a GP consensus that the TSA's recommendations should be supported.' The dictionary definition of consensus is: 'a general agreement about something : an idea or opinion that is shared by all the people in a group.' How can the approval of only nineteen percent of GPs be considered a consensus, while eighty-one percent have declined the opportunity to show their support? This ballot suggests that individual GPs do not have enough confidence in the TSA proposals to take responsibility for them. When the CCG were asked at a recent meeting if they could guarantee that a critically sick child or a woman experiencing serious complications in labour could reach UHNS in the back of an ambulance in time to avert a tragedy, they admitted that they couldn't. (Incidentally, this means that the proposals fail to guarantee that our future, reconfigured healthcare will be of an equal or better quality than that which already exists, thus failing one of the four key tests which must be passed before any changes can be made to local services.) Caught between the threat of reduced funds if they reject the TSA proposals and the potential danger to their patients if they accept, is it any wonder that the majority of GPs failed to commit one way or another? One thing is for sure, this ballot has failed to demonstrate GP support for the TSA proposals.

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