What Now For Hinchingbrooke Hospital?

Have the residents of Huntingdonshire been told the truth about the future of Hinchingbrooke Hospital? – we at Hands off Hinchingbrooke don’t think so and this is why

Throughout the so called consultation process; both the Outline and Full Business Case for Hinchingbrooke Hospital being acquired by Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Trust it has been constantly maintained that Hinchingbrooke Hospital would be preserved as a District General Hospital.

We maintain that Hinchingbrooke Hospital will become an elective surgery hub for ‘low complexity’ orthopaedic surgery, with trauma cases going to Addenbrookes or Peterborough City Hospital.  We forecast that emergency and elective ENT surgery will eventually also go to one of the other county hospitals.  We believe that these changes will eventually obviate the need for medical staff to work ‘Out of Hours’ at Hinchingbrooke Hospital

We absolutely accept that the STP does not directly state that A&E will become an Urgent Care Centre, however in reality this is what we believe will happen relatively quickly.   Once a hospital loses its A&E Department the loss of other specialities tend to follow.

So once again are we Scaremongering?  Our campaign group do not believe we are.   The financial aspects of the STP have not been released despite requests.  This details where the axe will fall on service provision in the county between health and social care. Their has been no public consultation on the footprint of the STP but the facts remain:-

The Cambridgeshire Commissioning Group (CCG) have a reported deficit of £504m which they must save by 2020.  This equates to £125m for each year – effectively 11% of its budget.

Why no public engagement on where these savage savings are to fall?  Hinchingbrooke Board are aware of the savings to be made.  Indeed a number of Boards Members were actively engaged in assisting to produce the STP, so why are they not telling you – the people of Huntingdonshire?

We believe the reasons for their concealment is because they don’t want you to know.  So we issue this challenge to the CCG and Hinchingbrooke Hospital Board.  Prove us wrong by issuing the full Financial and Estates impact of the STP to the public in layman terms.

Then the public will judge

We urge Councils to reject STP for Cambridgeshire

The first 2 years of the Sustainability Transformation Plan for Cambridgeshire is due for ratification on 23 December with implementation from April 2017.  The financial and estate footprint for these plans have not been fully disclosed and there has been no public engagement on proposals.

These plans, if ratified by councils, will have a significant detrimental and long term effect on Health provision throughout Cambridgeshire and specifically for the residents of our three county towns and outlying villages.  They are purely financially driven, and we firmly believe are unworkable.

These plans are due to place even greater burdens on GP’s, Health Care Workers, Social Workers as well as our Ambulance Service and other Community Groups, who themselves are already struggling with current workloads.

We urge both Cambridgeshire County Council, Huntingdonshire District Council, Fenland Council and Peterborough City Council to formally reject these proposals.  We believe that the model of approach is aimed at disassembling the NHS as a publicly funded body in an attempt to privatise health based on American models of health and social care.

Instead we call upon all local councils to make representations to their respective MP’s to demand a fully funded NHS and to suspend with immediate effect all STP’s nationwide.


It has been reported that Lance McCarthy, the CEO of Hinchingbrooke Hospital has intimated that Hands off Hinchingbrooke Campaign Group are scaremongering.  Well – lets examine some of the facts.

In his public consultation Mr McCarthy has regularly stated that their will be no loss of services at Hinchingbrooke Hospital and indeed expects some enhancements to some clinical services.

We understand some of the Senior Executives of the Hinchingbrooke Hospital Board have been involved with or contributed to the Sustainability Transformation Plan recently released by the Cambridgeshire Commissioning Group.

The Cambridgeshire Commissioning Group provide the footprint for the provision of Health and Social Care for the County within the confines of its budget restrictions.

The Cambridgeshire Commissioning Group is the most financially challenged commissioning Group in the whole of England and must find £504m of savings by 2020.  This equates to over £125m every year for the next 4 years, yet they have not released details of where these savings are to be made and so far have not consulted with the public over where savings are to be achieved.   Why?  What are they hiding from us?

The Cambridge Commissioning Group has not yet agreed it’s footprint as no decisions have apparently been made over the three Fenland centres.  How can you have a Plan and Budget when you as yet don’t know what you are doing?

Mr McCarthy is probably one of the few people fully aware of the impact of these savings which are savage and which will impact heavily on Health and Social Care provision throughout the County including Huntingdonshire.

So what does this mean for Hinchingbrooke Hospital?  It is highly likely that A&E will be rebranded as an Urgent Care Centre (UCC).  This may in turn result in Hinchingbrooke losing its status as a District General Hospital.

So residents of Huntingdonshire – Do you think we are scaremongering?; or merely trying to bring you facts as they become known, or our predictions/opinions on how we see Hinchingbrooke Hospital in the Future.

Our sole aim is to fight to retain services at Hinchingbrooke Hospital as outlined in the Full Business Case, and to inform you our residents if they are not.


Hunts DC vote not to support the Hinchingbrooke hospital takeover!

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.

Letter to Mr Burns HDC-response-to-the-merger-proposal

And here are details of the discussion that preceded this:




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.



Will the as yet unbuilt Healthcare Campus for Hinchingbrooke ever be built? Well if it is not then Healthcare in the Community will likely fail as four in five UK local authorities have insufficient care for older people in their area, with the shortage most acute for some of the most vulnerable in society, research suggests.

The Family and Childcare Trust surveyed councils across the country and found they are struggling to meet needs amid a background of growing demand, budget cuts and recruitment difficulties.

The survey is published on the same day as an undercover investigation by BBC Panorama is to be broadcast, exposing shocking neglect at two Cornwall care homes, including vulnerable people being left unattended and a nurse saying she will use morphine to “shut up” a resident.

The deficit identified by the Family and Childcare Trust means more than 6.4 million people aged 65 and over are living in areas that do not have enough older people’s care to meet demand.

Only one in five councils reported having enough older people’s care in their area to meet demand, the survey found.

Just under half (48%) of the 182 councils (out of 211) that responded said they had sufficient availability of home care and a similar proportion (44%) reported having enough places in extra care homes, which allow people to live independently with 24-hour emergency or on-site support.

Only a third of local authorities said they have enough nursing homes with specialist support for dementia, which is predicted to affect one million people in the UK by 2025.

The survey also highlighted large regional variations, with just 7% of outer London councils reporting enough older people’s care to meet demand. The only area where more than half of local authorities reported sufficient care was the north-east, where 57% responded positively.

The findings will add to the sense of crisis surrounding social care, with delayed transfers of care – when patients are medically fit to leave hospital but unable to be safely discharged – at record levels.

Council and NHS leaders, as well as the Care Quality Commission, have called for urgent action, with the chancellor, Philip Hammond, facing pressure to increase social funding in Wednesday’s autumn statement.

Inner London councils pay the highest rates for residential care for older people, at £649 a week per place, compared with the lowest rate of £464 in north-west England, according to the survey. The UK average for a residential place was revealed to be £27,113 a year.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “This government is committed to making sure older people throughout the country get affordable and dignified care. That is why we are significantly increasing the amount of money local authorities have access to for social care, by up to £3.5bn by 2020.”

Monday’s Panorama sees reporters go undercover at Clinton House in St Austell, and St Theresa’s, in Callington, near Plymouth, both owned by the Morleigh Group.

Hidden camera footage captured one resident left on a bed pan for 40 minutes and an out-of-date prescription supplement relabelled for use by another resident.

Clinton House is being closed as a result of safety concerns and St Theresa’s is under investigation by authorities along with two other Moreleigh Group homes.

Moreleigh Group said it had already removed the staff involved and reviewed its systems and procedures, prior to receiving information from Panorma. Cornwall council apologised for the failings.


The Cambridgeshire Sustainability Transformation Plan appears to be a blueprint for savage cuts and blows the lid on government plans to privatise the NHS. The sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) have been dubbed “slash, trash and plunder” by campaigners. Govt plans to cut £22 billion from the NHS budget by 2020 could see thousands of beds lost and units closed, including A&E departments. Doctors have raised concerns about being shut out of the plans. Most of the proposals were shrouded in secrecy before being published, with NHS England ordering managers not to give out information until bosses had given approval. The Cambridgeshire plan was initially led by Dr Neil Modha, the chief clinical officer responsible for Cambridgeshire’s disastrous £800m Uniting Care Partnership contract for services for elderly people.

That collapsed amid controversy only months into a seven-year deal, following a bidding process that cost over £1m. Within the STP are shocking plans for NHS privatisation and a reducing “dependence on public funding in line with current devolution discussions.” The local clinical commissioning group (CCG) details plans to become an “accountable care organisation” (ACO) — a model based on costly and inefficient US private health companies. It would see a group of firms take over care for a given population for a certain amount of time under a contract with a health commissioner. Campaigners say it’s a step towards scrapping the NHS as a public service and turning it into one that runs on insurance, as in the US. The details of the STP are the clearest sign yet that the government is paving the way towards the wholesale privatisation of the NHS. Plans to bring in the private sector are revealed when it talks of “leveraging” the ‘Cambridge research’ brand and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough-wide education and business offer to attract investment and make new partnerships.” The plans also contain £500m of cuts.

The CCG has been involved in consultation over closing minor injury units in rural parts of the county while plans for Peterborough and Stamford NHS Trust to acquire Hinchingbrooke Hospital Healthcare Trust are being fiercely opposed by Hands Off Hinchingbrooke campaigners, who fear that jobs and services will be lost, and ultimately to meet savage savings targets Hinchingbrooke Hospital will become unsustainable.

Unison Cambridge Acute Hospitals spokesman Stuart Tuckwood said that “the current deficit in the NHS is due to government funding not keeping pace with demand, on top of a shambolic and chaotic reorganisation that is pushing trusts into debt. “The £22bn savings cannot be delivered without cuts and we fear that is what ‘sustainability’ will mean for services in our area. “We have already experienced the devastating effects of failed privatisation in this area with the collapse of the £800m Uniting Care Partnership contract and the disaster of [privateer] Circle at Hinchingbrooke, who cut and ran after less than three years, leaving the public sector to pick up the pieces as the hospital was placed into special measures.” The CCG said the plans weren’t final and would be subject to consultation.

The King’s Fund Report asks – Is the NHS in a Funding Crisis?

The NHS managed to withstand the financial pressure for the first three years of this parliament, but it is now under increasing strain. Many NHS organisations are reporting that they have ‘come to the end of the track’ in being able to reduce costs using traditional measures. Many large NHS organisations seen as financially stable and effective at managing their resources are now in deficit. Foundation trusts with financial reserves are able to draw on these to deal with deficits in the short term but by definition this is not a sustainable solution to the NHS’s funding problems.

The increasing number of providers in deficit is symptomatic of the mounting difficulties that trusts face in realising cost savings and assuring quality standards (through increasing nurse staffing, for example) in the wake of the Francis Inquiry. The government has found additional funding in 2014/15 – some new, most reallocated from within existing budgets – to support direct patient care. It has also announced plans to increase the frontline NHS budget by more than £3 billion in cash terms in 2015/16 with some of the increase earmarked for service transformation.

In the NHS five year forward view, NHS England argued that the NHS could deliver productivity improvements of £22 billion but would require £8 billion a year of additional funding by 2020/21. Most independent commentators suggest that delivering productivity improvements on the scale suggested will be a very tall order and that £8 billion is therefore the bare minimum that will be required. As yet it is unclear whether all three of the main political parties will commit to provide this level of funding.

While there is undoubtedly scope to deliver further productivity improvements, for example by tackling variations in performance between NHS providers, better procurement of goods and services, and greater integration of care, these will take time to deliver savings. Also, the NHS needs to be able to access funds to invest in new models of care before resources can be released from existing services. In the absence of an adequately resourced transformation fund, it will be extremely difficult to do more than prop up existing services in the short term.

The next government will inherit an NHS that faces growing pressures on all fronts. It will need to act quickly to ensure that there is sufficient funding to sustain as well as transform services in the next parliament. The NHS is working at or very close to its limits and patient care will suffer unless more resources are found.

Hunts Post – 16 Nov 16 – Comment on Merger – ‘Best Option’ for Hinchingbrooke – We say NO

The comment in the Hunts Post – 16 Nov – that the Merger is ‘Best Option’ for the future of Hinchingbrooke Hospital is not the ‘Best Option’ for Hinchingbrooke Hospital as far as our campaign group is concerned.

First of all we need to correct the assumption that it is a merger – it is not – it is now formally an acquisition.

It is very clear to our campaign group that this is a ‘Done Deal’ and that the Boards of both Hinchingbrooke and Peterborough and Stamford Foundation Hospital Trust have used so called ‘Consultation Meetings’ as a box ticking exercise.

Our campaign group know that we can do nothing to stop this acquisition and unless a miracle occurs it will go ahead on 1 April 2017.

What will this mean for Hinchingbrooke Hospital?  Well for a start it is estimated that between the two trusts 170 staff – mainly support staff will lose employment.  It will mean that all the assets of Hinchingbrooke will come under the control of the new trust, and all finances that would previously have come to Hinchingbrooke will also go to the new trust.

So NO – we don’t think it is the ‘best option’  It is our view that external conditions have been imposed on both Boards to ensure this happens and by 1 April 2017, otherwise this date makes no sense.

If the New Health Campus at Hinchingbrooke gets built then any ‘profits’ that previously would have gone to Hinchingbrooke will now go to the new Trust – based in Peterborough.   Had this acquisition not gone ahead any profits made could have been used to sustain, develop and promote services at Hinchingbrooke Hospital as well as clearing any budget deficits going forward.

If, as seems likely this acquisition will go ahead, then our campaign group will then focus on ensuring that appropriate funding continues to come to Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

We urge residents of our three major towns and associated villages to join our campaign group to ensure Hinchingbrooke is not allowed to ‘Wither on the vine’ through funding starvation.


New Members Wanted

Our Campaign Group is urgently looking for new members to join our team.  We are friendly and welcoming to anybody, and you don’t have to serve on the committee, however, should you wish to become a committee member you would be most welcome as we have a number of  positions that you could help with.

These are primarily around recruiting more supporters and fundraising by for example helping out on our various stalls at local events.

If you would like to become involved in helping in our aims to Save Hinchingbrooke Hospital’s long term future then contact one of the existing committee members or send us a message on our Facebook page and we will give you as much information as possible about our aims.