High Peak MP: NHS needs more resources to beat long waiting lists

High Peak MP Ruth George has called on health bosses to ensure that Stepping Hill and Macclesfield Hospitals to do not close their doors to High Peak patients at the same time.

Ruth made the call after Stepping Hill closed its doors to breast cancer referrals from High Peak, while Macclesfield closed its doors to cardiology and gastro-enterology patients from outside East Cheshire.

Both hospitals have said that long waiting lists had forced the temporary and that they would open their doors to High Peak patients once waiting lists have come down.

“It is extremely worrying that NHS services were so overstretched and short of staff that waiting times were rising and patients were denied the hospital of their choice.

“I understand that Stepping Hill’s department was overwhelmed and could not see urgent breast cancer patients within the two week deadline.  Waits for urgent appointments had risen to five weeks which could put patients with rapidly progressing breast cancer in danger,” she said.

“Long waits for urgent treatment are not acceptable, but it is also important that patients from High Peak can attend a hospital within a reasonable distance, and preferably with good public transport links.

“Following discussions with Derbyshire’s clinical commissioners and Macclesfield Hospital, I understand that a number of hospitals, from Manchester to Nottingham, have been asked if they can take High Peak patients; and that Macclesfield could accommodate High Peak breast care patients.

“I have also asked Macclesfield and Stepping Hill hospitals to seek to ensure that in future they are never both closed to High Peak patients at the same time, and I will continue to press for more resources for our NHS.”

 

 

Ruth George MP – Statement on Hospital Services for High Peak

The news that Stepping Hill Hospital was to stop breast services for patients from High Peak was a shock and a worry to many local people and medical professionals.

I understand that Stepping Hill’s department was overwhelmed and could not see urgent patients within the two week deadline.  Their waits for urgent appointments had risen to five weeks which could put patients with rapidly progressing breast cancer in danger.

Long waits for urgent treatment are not acceptable but it is also important that patients from High Peak can attend a hospital within a reasonable distance, and preferably with good public transport, as Stepping Hill has.

As soon as I received the news, I contacted Derbyshire’s clinical commissioners to ask about alternative provision and was told they were making enquiries of a number of hospitals, including in Manchester but also as far away as Nottingham.

So I met with the Chief Executive of Macclesfield Hospital – the nearest alternative for most High Peak residents who use Stepping Hill.  Macclesfield has an excellent breast care centre that many residents have praised, and where I go myself for scans due to my family history of breast cancer.

The Chief Executive stated that unless there was a sudden and unexpected surge in demand, he felt that Macclesfield could accommodate all of the High Peak breast care patients who wished.

Macclesfield has closed its cardiology department and their gastro-enterology departments to people outside East Cheshire, but he assured me this was a temporary measure due to long waiting lists.  Extra staff have now been recruited so these waits should reduce to acceptable levels.

Stockport’s commissioners are hoping the situation at Stepping Hill is temporary, and that all patients will be able to continue to go there once their waiting lists have come down.

However, it is a worry that our NHS services are so overstretched and often short of staff that waiting times are rising and patients are denied the hospital of their choice.

I have asked both Macclesfield and Stepping Hill to seek to ensure that they are never both closed to High Peak patients and I will continue to press for more resources for our NHS.