Wednesday July 18, 2012
A former NHS chief executive has been drafted in to help scrutinise NHS plans to downgrade local hospitals.
Timothy Rideout, who has more than 20 years experience in senior roles within the health service, was formally appointed by Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council at a Housing Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee last night (July 17).
Mr Rideout will now begin working with officials at the town hall to examine the NHS North West London business case and accompanying consultation document – ironically called ‘shaping a healthier future’ – which proposes a dramatic downgrading of local health services.
Until recently, Mr Rideout was chief executive of NHS Leicester City and specialises in change management, financial strategy and organisational turnaround within the NHS.
Specifically, the option preferred by NHS North West London would result in the closure of the borough’s only two A&E departments, and one remaining hyper-acute stroke unit (HASU) at Charing Cross Hospital.
Cllr Lucy Ivimy, Housing Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee chairman, said: “Mr Rideout’s track record of delivering savings within the NHS while maintaining front-line services will be invaluable to the council, as we start the process of considering a detailed response to the NHS consultation.
“Many residents have already complained that the reams of NHS documents are virtually impenetrable and are full of inaccuracies, jargon and leading questions. Having a senior NHS expert working closely with us to cut through the spin and get to the heart of the matter will be vital if we are to successfully defend local NHS services.”
At a separate meeting on Monday night (July 16) politicians from all major local parties joined with community groups, local residents and the council to agree a united campaign against the NHS proposals.
Cllr Marcus Ginn, H&F Council’s cabinet member for community care, said: “The community is uniting to fight off this threat to our local hospitals from NHS bureaucrats. Already thousands of people have signed petitions, protest posters are going up in shops and homes all over the borough, and residents and politicians from all backgrounds are coming together.
“But there is also a strong feeling that the evidence, which has been put in the public domain so far, is being presented in a way that favours certain outcomes. This evidence now needs to be professionally tested and independently challenged so we can expose the holes in the NHS’ arguments and persuade them to think again.”
“With this in mind, I am pleased that we now have a formidable NHS expert who is going to help us with the task of unpicking the NHS proposals line by line.”
The NHS consultation lasts until October 8 and decisions about the future of North West London’s health services will be made in early 2013.
Mr Rideout worked in the NHS for 22 years, holding a series of senior management roles, leading a number of large health service change programmes.
Mr Rideout is working with council officials to undertake a comprehensive review of the NHS business case including patient flows, financial models, capital requirements and transport options. The initial work, including a response report, is due to be completed by September, in advance of a series of public scrutiny meetings held by the council in the autumn.
Do you agree with the NHS plans to downgrade local hospitals?
Are you worried about having to travel out of borough to receive urgent medical care?
This is your chance to question NHS bosses and have your say!
SAVE OUR HOSPITALS
Hammersmith Town Hall
Tuesday, September 18