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Health boss "regrets" lack of public consultation over Ross-on-Wye minor injuries unit
9:00am Thursday 25th October 2012 in News
THE interim boss of Wye Valley Health Trust has admitted his “regret” at a lack of consultation on the future for the Ross-on- Wye minor injuries unit but says the risks identified in a review of the unit meant the trust had to act fast.
WVT chief executive Derek Smith went head-to-head with Hereford MP Jesse Norman over the future for the unit – subject of an upcoming town meeting – with the politician conveying wider community concern.
At the meeting Mr Smith expressed his regret at the lack of consultation and notice, but stressed the trust’s “determination” to work closely with local people in future.
The trust, said Mr Smith, would “very much have liked” to have given more notice, but was obliged to act quickly once its review had taken place and the risks had been identified.
In the short time available, he said, the trust tried to communicate with interested parties but that didn’t work in every instance.
He said: “We think it is very important that there are discussions with local people and general practitioners about how the service should operate and what has to be in place for it to continue to be safe.
“There are also some concerns about the availability of services to some people, especially at weekends, to which we are keen to respond positively.”
But this came with the provisio of “genuine safety concerns” that would prompt the trust to act quickly in the interest of patients.
Mr Norman described the meeting as constructive.
“However, I still have huge concerns over the future of hospital services in Herefordshire,” he said.
“We get a very bad funding deal from the NHS, which barely recognises the difficulty and cost of health care in a rural and sparsely populated county with a large elderly population.
“The effect of this underfunding, and of the expensive PFI contract at the County Hospital, is to put enormous pressure on our hospitals and on the Wye Valley Trust.”
Latest figures show the trust’s financial woes continue with its cumulative deficit up by £1.2 million at August 31, making the year to date deficit £6.2m.