Shire Hill and the future of the NHS

The closure of Shire Hill Hospital and the transfer of the remaining patients to the Stamford Unit next to Tameside Hospital last week was a sad day for Glossop residents who have stayed at or used Shire Hill, and especially for the staff who formed such an excellent team.

They not only cared for their patients, they cared for Shire Hill and for the healthcare that we need in Glossop, and put up a valiant fight for their hospital in which I was pleased to support them.

I know that whilst some staff will be working in the Stamford Unit in rehabilitation care, others are working in other healthcare roles in and around Glossop, and I am glad that we will keep their skills

Such is the extent that our NHS has been split up, although Shire Hill is not in use, Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group(CCG) still need to pay a high rent to NHS Properties for the site.

Whilst no one wants to see money that could be spent on patients being spent on a building, it’s also very important that we don’t lose such a beautiful site that is owned by the NHS, having been gifted by the Guardians Board of Glossop when the NHS was set up.

So I am working with the CCG, the County Council and High Peak Borough Council to see if we can take forward Sir John Oldham’s proposal for Shire Hill to become an elderly care facility.

A similar facility in Buxton, currently being completed, will include some care beds for short-term patients, and such a model would be a real asset to people needing care and wanting to stay in close touch with family and friends in Glossop.

In the last few days we have been promised an extra £20 billion a year for the NHS in two years’ time.  Whilst I have been campaigning for extra spending on health since the start of the austerity measures, 10 years of effective cuts are bringing our NHS – and its staff – to their knees.

We need a proper long-term plan for both health and social care so that cuts to one service do not continually impact on the other, and plans to recruit and keep the trained staff who are so desperately needed in almost every area of the health service, and even more so in social care where there are a large number of vacancies in Glossopdale.

There are many ongoing changes to health services in Glossop and I am determined to make sure that those services work properly for patients and their families.

That’s why I have organised a meeting on the 70th anniversary – 7.30pm on Thursday 5th July in the (old) Glossopdale Community School, with representatives of the CCG, local GPs, mental health services and our ambulance service.

Please come along to hear their plans for Glossop’s health and care services, and to ask questions and give your experiences.

The NHS is our NHS, and however shiny the buildings, it only works if we have contented staff and satisfied patients.

Where that’s not the case I’d like to know, so do come along to let us know what’s working and what’s not, so we can try and make improvements where they’re needed.

I’m determined to make sure our health services are accountable to the people of Glossop and I look forward to seeing you to help me do that.

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