Analysis of all the public meetings on the future of Glenfield Heart Unit reveals a sham consultation!

save-glenfield-3

Photo by Lukasz Bemka

The national consultation on the future of Glenfield Children’s Heart Centre came to a close last week. Those able to attend one of the NHS England’s meetings will know what we mean when we say that the consultation was a sham, from start to finish.

But the majority were not even granted this courtesy, as we can reveal.

Throughout the five-month long consultation, there were 33 events held around the country. Not too bad – until you break down the details.

Of the 33 meetings, six were council-led. The public were not always allowed to ask questions at these meetings so these do not fall into the category of public consultation. Two were staff briefings – so also inaccessible to the public.

In total, NHS England carried out three Webinars. But as anyone who tried to use them will tell you, they were impossible to access – even for those with the internet

Of the remaining 22 meetings, nine were held on a week day and during work hours. An additional two were held from 5-7 – so for the majority of those in work they were also completely inaccessible.

So that is 22 out of 33 (two thirds) that the majority of the public could not attend and “consult”! Or, to put it differently, NHS England carried out just eleven meetings as part of a national public consultation!

Many of the meetings were announced with as little as nine-days notice.

To make things even worse, NHS England made very little effort to notify anyone about the meetings – they simply added it onto their web page. But who knew to go there to find out where and when the meetings would be? The majority of the public wouldn’t know that NHS England even had a web site, let alone check every day.

And what about those many who do not have access to the internet?

NHS England have proven beyond all doubt that they were not interested in carrying out a fully public consultation. We cannot let them off the hook.

We will do everything we can to continue to expose the flaws in the process. The consultation may be over but the campaign to save Glenfield is not.

Complaints can be sent to: england.congenitalheart@nhs.net

Advertisements

Local film-maker documents why we all love and need Glenfield Heart Unit

 

A short documentary exploring what it’s like to live with Congenital Heart Disease, and highlighting the brilliant work at Glenfield Children’s Heart Centre, has just been released.

The documentary comes at a critical stage in the campaign to stop the closure of Glenfield Children’s Heart Centre, with the end of the consultation just weeks away.

Ellie Kemp, the documentary maker, is a former patient at Glenfield Heart Unit. Asked why she made the documentary, Ellie said:

“I wanted to raise awareness – CHD is such a common birth defect, yet it’s so unheard of, and it affects so many lives.”

But NHS England’s controversial proposals to close the heart centre at Glenfield Hospital are also a part of the reason for Ellie making the documentary

Speaking about her personal experiences with the heart unit, Ellie said:

“If Glenfield had been closed when I had my open-heart surgery at 10 years old, then it definitely would’ve put a lot more pressure on my family – it’s scary enough having a child go through major heart surgery, let alone having to travel from Nottingham to Birmingham, or Nottingham to Manchester, when Glenfield is only a half an hour drive.

“Financially, having a child in hospital is extremely difficult, so adding in the extra travel, and potentially accommodation expenses, would be incredibly straining for families. However, this could be a reality for future heart patients if Glenfield was closed – which seems so unnecessary and so unfair, especially since Glenfield has such an amazing Heart Unit, which has helped to save so many lives.”

One of the recurrent themes of the documentary is the close relationships between staff and patients at Glenfield. Dr Mike Harris, a specialist in foetal diagnosis, described the unit as “like a family.”

Unsurprisingly, this is high on Ellie’s priorities.

“It’s also the Glenfield team themselves. Having been seen at Glenfield all my life, I’ve built up a strong relationship and a trust with the staff. Should I have to have any further surgeries at a later date, without Glenfield, I’d have to go to a new hospital, with a team who would be unfamiliar.”

The documentary is also highly critical of NHS England’s claim that Glenfield is not meeting the “standards”. Aidan Boulger, a consultant cardiologist at Glenfield and a stalwart of the campaign, was interviewed:

“NHS England have suggested that one measure of quality is the number of operations that we do. They seem to be confusing quality with the number of operations. The two things are completely different.”

Ellie echoed this sentiment:

“As for Glenfield not performing surgeries to a ‘high enough standard’ again – I was treated there, and I received an incredibly high standard of care, before, during and after my major open-heart surgery. I recovered well, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

The East Midlands only has one heart unit. We must make it clear to NHS England that no-one is going to take it away from us without a fight!

The Save Glenfield campaign is holding a public rally in Leicester City Centre on Saturday, 8 July, from 1pm: https://goo.gl/Z9ojJx And if you are interested in holding a public viewing of the film, please get in touch.

 


Ellie also asked that we post the following message of thanks:

“When researching for my documentary, Save Our Heart Unit Glenfield kindly shared a message on Facebook, asking for anyone who was willing to share their experiences with CHD and Glenfield Hospital. I received an overwhelming amount of responses – phone calls, e-mails, messages, all from people who wanted to share their stories, speaking highly of the care they received at Glenfield. I’d like to say thank you to all of those who shared their stories with me – I believe that this is testament to how many lives Glenfield has changed, and shows just how important Glenfield is.”

 

NHS England claim to be consulting on the future of Glenfield ❤ Unit. So why do they keep excluding the public?

Untitled design

NHS England’s consultation on the future of Glenfield Children’s Heart Centre has been a sham, from beginning to end.

Many of us will remember their farcical “public” meeting held on 9 March, where a room with a capacity of 120 was booked for the whole of Leicester. This was just weeks after more than 2,000 people attended a protest to Save Glenfield in Leicester City centre.

Many were also excluded from the meeting because it was held midweek.

But despite coming under sustained criticism for the way in which they organised this and other meetings, NHS England continue to do the same.

In Sleaford, Lincolnshire, a public meeting was held yesterday (22nd) in the middle of a working day – at 1pm! The public was given just nine days notice for this meeting.

NHS England have also organised a Nottingham-based meeting planned for Thursday 30 June. Again the time of the meeting is 1.30pm – hardly useful for in-work parents. This time the public was given a more generous, but still insufficient, 17 days notice.

And today, it was revealed that NHS England have organised a Leicester Patient and Family event on 1 July. The meeting is on a Saturday, so will certainly be more accessible to the public. But the notice given to the public to come to this is just eight days!

All of this is unacceptable and raises questions as to whether NHS England is interested in carrying out a truly “public” consultation.

If you would like to complain to NHS England about these issues, please contact: england.congenitalheart@nhs.net.