We are delighted to report that your local councillors voted against this proposal and wrote the attached letter to the Chairman of Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust, Alan Burns.
And here are details of the discussion that preceded this:
46. HINCHINGBROOKE AND PETERBOROUGH HOSPITALS MERGER
Members were informed that following the consideration of Full Business Case for the merger of the Trusts running Hinchingbrooke and Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals by the Cabinet at its meeting on 20th October 2016, the Panel had been asked to convene a Task and Finish Group to undertake a critical analysis of the Full Business Case, in order to formulate a proposal to the Cabinet as to whether the Council should support the Merger and its suggested response.
The Chairman proposed, and the Panel agreed, that a Task and Finish Group would not be convened and that Members would draw conclusions and send a draft letter to the Chairman of the Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust. The Chairman added that the Panel had three options: support the merger (either fully or reluctantly), do not support the merger or do not support the merger but register no objections.
The Chairman opened the debate by stating that following the special meeting on 12th October 2016, he could not support the merger but he could not object to it either as there is no other plan on the table.
One Member suggested that the Council should reject the merger as the Trusts do not have an alternative in the scenario that the merger fails. In addition, the Chief Executive of Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust, Lance McCarthy, did not commit to the preservation of services at the Hinchingbrooke site.
A Member stated that they believe the Panel should not be dealing with the issue as a Council response should come from the Cabinet and signed by the Executive Leader of the Council. The Executive Councillor for Environment, Street Scene and Operations responded that the Cabinet believes that the Panel should take ownership of the issue as they had heard from Lance McCarthy twice and had received the evidence to make a judgement.
The point was raised that Members were informed that the merger is to overcome financial difficulties as well as making the Trust a more attractive proposition for consultants when recruiting. It was suggested that senior staff could be appointed through a staff sharing arrangement and the contract written in a way that would guarantee the consultant hours at Hinchingbrooke. In regards to the finances the income from health campus would go to the merged Trust and Hinchingbrooke would not fully benefit from the income.
The Panel noted that the merged Trust’s Council of Governors would have a ‘greater influence’ from the north of the area. The Panel were uncomfortable with the idea that the interests of Hinchingbrooke could be overlooked as there is a potential for the north to ‘outvote’ Huntingdonshire. Members fear that this would affect all residents but particularly those who depend on Hinchingbrooke.
A Member suggested that the Panel should not make decisions on the clinical sustainability of Hinchingbrooke but focus on the governance arrangements. The Member added that the Council shouldn’t support the acquisition without the governance of Hinchingbrooke being protected. The Panel,
1) that the acquisition cannot be supported by Huntingdonshire District Council due to the absence of sufficient balance in the governance arrangements in protecting the interests of the residents of Huntingdonshire, and
2) that a letter is written to the Chairman of Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust, Alan Burns, explaining why the Council cannot support the acquisition and explain other concerns expressed by the Panel.