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Public starting to understand need to close hospitals

From the Guardian:

The biggest public consultation conducted by the NHS found “widespread support” for closing child heart surgery centres in Leeds, Oxford and the Royal Brompton, says a report commissioned by the team reviewing options for cardiac care…

Although the argument has been won that surgery should be concentrated in fewer, bigger centres, it has taken over a decade to get to the stage of actually closing units since the Bristol heart scandal highlighted appalling lapses in the care of children with congenital cardiac problems. Sir Neil says much of the argument is about “about protecting local services: turf, basically. And, frankly, [it has] taken a long time for a clinical consensus to emerge.”

Areas to think about:

  • Is public consultation the best way to decide NHS hospital provision?
  • Are fewer, but bigger, centres the optimal way to ensure quality of care?
  • Is quality of care the paramount consideration, or does local provision outweigh this?
  • Reducing hospital numbers has been tried for years, but always run into public opposition. Do the results of this wider consultation reflect a broader shift in the public’s understanding of how health care and finite resources interact?

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