Concerns over plans to close Leicestershire hospitals

By Olivia Whaley

Residents across Leicester have shared concerns after more NHS cuts were announced for the county.

Three community hospitals across Leicestershire are to close in an attempt to save the health budget of £400 million.

Student Tom Cole is amongst the many who feel their priorities are not being met.

He said: “There are currently plans to spend around £300 million on refurbishing Buckingham Palace, yet there are also plans to make big cuts to such vital services. It seems absurd.”

He added that the news ‘just didn’t sit right with him’.

If the suggested sustainability and transformation plan goes ahead it could result in the closure of hospitals in Melton Mowbray, Hinckley and Lutterworth.

These changes will see the hospitals moving their services to the Leicester Royal Infirmary and Glenfield sites.

It is also estimated that 1,500 hospital jobs will be lost by 2020 and the number of acute hospital is thought to drop to 1,697 from 1,940 by the same year.

Theatre performer, Georgina Hall is also cautious of the proposed cuts. She said: “It is already so difficult for people to access hospitals in the area. These cuts are going to make it even harder for people needing help.”

She added: “I understand that it is necessary to cut budgets, but this seems extreme. You can’t put a price on people’s health.”

The proposed plans are part of the existing programme, Better Care Together, which was introduced by the Managing director of the West Leicestershire clinical commissioning group, Toby Sanders, earlier this year.

Mr Sanders said: “Over the past two years we have been focused on developing our services hand-in-hand with clinicians, patient representatives and our partners in local government.”

He added: “Our plan draws upon and builds on that work, and we will be sharing and discussing the details widely with people across the community to further inform and develop plans over the coming weeks and month.”

The new plan also includes a new birthing centre at Leicester General Hospital, which will provide in-patient maternity services from midwives and doctors.

A spokesperson for the University Hospitals of Leicester stated that the plan is a working draft and they are encouraging people to give their feedback on the proposals. To do this, visit www.bettercareleicester.nhs.uk.

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