By Matthew Gooding
Thursday, November 29, 2012
CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save Royston Hospital hope that administrative changes in healthcare will herald a brighter future for the site.
Doctors in Royston are set to join the Cambridgeshire Association to Commission Health (CATCH), which is responsible for providing health services in the Greater Cambridge area, in the new year.
The Royston Hospital Action Group (RHAG) believes that once this change has occurred, CATCH will be able to have a say in the future of the hospital.
The NHS Hertfordshire primary care trust, which currently controls the hospital, is planning to close it in April and build a privately run care-home, with NHS intermediate beds, on the site instead.
But Susan Ackroyd, from RHAG, said: “We believe it is sensible to join CATCH because many patients go to Addenbrooke’s and Papworth from Royston and the surrounding area.
“The CATCH website says they ‘want to increase involvement of patients and public in the commissioning process, as their views are vital in ensuring that services meet the needs of the population’ and we are waiting for a date to be finalised to meet with them shortly about Royston Hospital.
“Once the GPs are definitely in CATCH, we will ask them to review the NHS Hertfordshire plan because its chief executive has told us that they [CATCH] will be able to make the decisions.”
The action group has been campaigning to save the hospital since the care home scheme was announced earlier this year. In September they delivered a petition to Parliament containing 5,000 signatures against the closure.
Mrs Ackroyd said: “We remain in favour of the framework jointly put forward by ourselves and the Friends of Royston Hospital earlier this year at their AGM.
“Any care home commissioned by Herts County Council for the current hospital site will be a commercial business, with some people paying and others funded by the county council.
“We still hold the view that care home beds will not provide flexible, local beds that GPs need.
“We therefore wish to let everyone know that we will continue to seek the retention of a hospital for Royston and area.”
RHAG can be contacted via PO Box 254 Royston, or by emailing email@example.com.