Bob Seely MP is the Conservative Member of Parliament serving the Isle of Wight parliamentary constituency. His web site states: “He is committed to representing all Islanders, regardless of political affiliation, fighting for the interests of the community as a whole.”
If you live on the Isle of Wight and you are concerned about possible cuts to the Island’s local health services and having to travel to the mainland to obtain those services in the future, writing to your MP or meeting with him in person at his constituency ‘surgery’ is the best way to ensure your concerns are officially noted and hopefully escalated to the appropriate government ministerial office in Westminster. To contact Bob Seely MP you can write to him at this address:
If you decide to write to Bob Seely MP about the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), your letter will carry more weight if you can describe, from personal experience as a patient or a family member or friend of a patient, how the transfer of NHS services from St Mary’s Hospital to hospitals on the mainland might affect you or your family. The following points may be worth bearing in mind as you consider the possible impacts of STP on your situation (if you want to work these points into your letter – that’s good; but try to write it in your own words rather than just cutting and pasting – it’s unlikely that all these points will apply to any one person):
- Access to essential health services may be inconvenient and costly if patients have to travel to the mainland. The stress of travel to the mainland for outpatient appointments – sometimes at almost impossibly early hours of the day – could conceivably contribute to worse clinical outcomes. Travel between the Isle of Wight and the mainland is notoriously vulnerable to bad weather and other problems with the ferries.
- Many of the treatments that are currently available on the Island – but are under threat of being transferred to the mainland – are mostly needed by elderly people. Hip replacements, prostate operations, cancer surgery etc., for example, are possible targets for cutbacks. Visits from family and friends are an important part of the recovery process in order to encourage mobilisation, maintain activities of daily living and independence, minimise anxiety, and to reduce the risk of disorientation and confusion. Carrying out inpatient treatments off the Island will make visiting elderly or otherwise vulnerable patients much more difficult and costly, and clinical outcomes may not be as good as a result.
- Although the STP envisages retention of basic hospital services (such as accident & emergency and maternity) on the Island, staffing these services may prove even more difficult than it already is if St Mary’s Hospital is perceived by health professionals as a less attractive place to work from the point of view of career development. For the same reason, it may prove impossible to recruit junior doctors to some specialties, because jobs may not be able to offer the breadth and depth of experience necessary to make them suitable for recognition for training by Health Education England (HEE).
- The risks of health care associated infections (HCIA), e.g. MRSA, C. diff, etc., and infections brought in from the community, such as Norovirus, are greater the more patients are moved about and mixed. Cancellations of procedures due to ward closures and delayed discharges due to infective complications are more likely to result in worse clinical outcomes, added costs for the NHS, and more inconvenience for patients.
- Transferring some hospital services to the mainland may make it more difficult for GPs to communicate with hospital specialists, with letters or test results getting lost in the system and poorer personal rapport between clinicians. Excellent communication between health and care professionals lies at the core of providing good quality care in the community. Increasing the physical and organisational distance between the place where health care is delivered and the patient’s home is likely to have a worsening effect on the quality of care.
- Transferring clinical services from the Island to the mainland is likely to increase reliance on technology for clinicians and patients to be able to communicate. Reliable evidence has shown that using Skype and similar technologies is a poor substitute for face-to-face communication between doctors and patients.
- The additional expense of treating Island patients on the mainland because of travel costs, hotel bills (where necessary for extended outpatient treatments, e.g. chemotherapy) etc. may mean that the Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)’s budget gets eaten up more quickly, and Island patients may be denied treatments on financial grounds, creating a ‘postcode lottery’ of health care availability and greater inequalities.
Let us know if you receive a reply!