Michael Fabricant is questioning the proposed closure on 1st September of the last ward with inpatients (Trent Ward) at St Michael’s Hospital in Lichfield. Under procedures laid down, he believes that such closures have to be the subject of formal consultation with local G.P.s but this seems to have been ignored. Michael will be taking this up with Premier Health and the South Staffordshire Health Authority. "The closure of Trent will mean that some patients will be denied rehabilitation which could enable them to return home. This point should have been the subject of debate had formal consultation taken place.
"Local doctors tell me that the plans for the new "Vic" (Victoria Hospital, Lichfield) do not include enough beds for current G.P. medicine and care of the elderly. G.P.s are particularly concerned that no provision is being made for medium term (6 month limit) rehabilitation. The service provide by St Michael’s gave the elderly a 6 month chance to respond to physiotherapy and other treatment and return to their own homes. The alternative is residential care and the present system includes a perverse incentive to allow this to happen.
"The nonsense that now exists is that the Health Authority saves the cost of the rehabilitation ward as residential care is funded by the value of the person’s own home or by social services. This should not happen without formal debate. St Michael’s is effectively closing to inpatients. I shall now be contacting the Health Authority and Premier Health to determine whether the correct procedures of consultation with local G.P.s have been followed and whether, in any event, they will reconsider their closure proposals".