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Wednesday 21st August 2019

Close more hospitals

5th September 2011

Former NHS chief executive Lord Crisp has warned that more hospitals will have to close if the NHS is going to cope in the future.


Lord Crisp said there was now overcapacity in the hospital sector and overhauling hospitals would free up funds for community services to deal with the ageing population.

He suggested that when the NHS was under his stewardship (2000-2006) the Blair government should have been tougher when it had the chance and scaled back on hospital services.

Lord Crisp said: “In the late 1990s waiting lists, A&E and standards in cardiac care were the big issues and we dealt with them.

“But the challenge now is dealing with the numbers of older people and those with long-term conditions. They need supporting in the community.

“That means a shift away from hospitals. There will be less need for large hospital outpatient departments and some services and whole hospitals will need to close or be merged with others.”

The Patients Association said that the government should not be afraid of making difficult decisions.

Katherine Murphy from the organisation said: “What is the point of having brand new hospital buildings if there are not enough funds to treat people in them?

“We must never forget that by merging services, there will be patients who may struggle to get to them because they are too far away.”

While suggesting that ministers agreed that more care and services should be moved into the community, the Department of Health stressed that changes must be made for the right reasons.


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William Walbank

Wednesday 7th September 2011 @ 21:08

This can again be an optimisation of sub-objectives. Patients want a widespread net of diagnosic and treatment services. Hospitals want a limited number of large units to build up expertise and performance in specialist teams, average out demand and minimise costs. It is easy to forget that outside large conurbations any vist for tests or consultations of or treatment of typically 5 to 10 minutes contact, can need 50 miles of travel, take several hours and, as many older patents have given up driving forcing them to use dininishing - or non-existent, public transport, vists become a source of stress to both patients and their carers.

We will only reach a satisfactory service when the NHS give up its parochial approach and is planned on the wider, open, and complete system - including the users as well as the deliverers in a sensibly planned network of caring and delivery facilities.

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