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East of England: Health Services

Volume 495: debated on Monday 29 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when the Suffolk Primary Care Trust was informed of the intention of the East Anglian Strategic Health Authority to cease the current procedures of pre-hospital thrombolysis; (282130)

(2) what reasons no public consultation took place on the decision of the East of England Health Authority to withdraw emergency heart services from Ipswich Hospital.

This is a matter for the East of England Strategic Health Authority. We understand that the proposal to create heart attack centres in the east of England were subject to public consultation on as part of Towards the best, together from 6 May 2008 to 4 August 2008. These proposals in Towards the best, together were put forward by clinicians working in the national health service in the east of England region, and involved eight clinical work-streams involving around 200 clinicians (with representatives from every NHS organisation in the region), stakeholders, and patients in drawing up the proposals. The proposals were the result of taking the best clinical evidence and applying it to provide the best health service for the people of the east of England.

The consultation directly engaged more than 6,000 people and the public gave 90 per cent. approval to create four specialist heart attack centres. Staff saw them as the one of the most important changes to acute services in the vision, second only to a guaranteed future for all acute trusts, including Ipswich.

The Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee (JOSC) for the east of England scrutinised the proposals made as part of Towards the best, together consultation. Following Towards the best, together consultation, the NHS discussed with the OSCs the plans for implementing Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PPCI) across the region and it was agreed that further consultation was not required as the changes were in line with those already consulted on in Towards the best, together.

The decision on the four specialist centres to deliver PPCI in the east of England was made by the East of England Specialised Commissioning Group. The East of England Specialised Commissioning Group is a committee comprising representatives of all of the 14 primary care trusts (PCTs) in the east of England, including Suffolk PCT, and is a sub-committee of their Boards.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether the East of England Strategic Health Authority has been informed of the requirements on them to assess the carbon impact of their service decisions; what mechanism there is to monitor the authority's compliance with those requirements; and if he will make a statement; (282133)

(2) what estimate has been made of the effect on carbon dioxide emissions of changes in (a) the number of ambulance journeys, (b) the number of journeys undertaken by friends and relatives of patients and (c) arrangements for patients' post-operative care arising from the decision by the East of England Strategic Health Authority to withdraw emergency cardiac provision in Ipswich hospital.

The Department has issued advice about transport management (Health Technical Memorandum (HTM) 07-03) which sets out carbon impacts of travel, Climate Change requirements and the necessity to take these aspects into account in developing Transport Plans and Strategies. A copy of HTM 07-03 has been placed in the Library.

The Department's Operating Framework for the NHS in England 2009-10 - high quality care for all is the second in a three year planning cycle established by the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review to provide a solid platform for improving the quality of care and focusing on the priorities that matter most to patients, staff and public. Within the section on Local Priorities, it states: paragraph 8, page 42

“The NHS can make significant contributions to reducing its carbon impact. Every NHS organisation should ensure that it measures and progressively reduces its own carbon footprint. This will save resources now, improve health today and set an important example to deliver high quality and sustainable services for the future.”

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what socio-economic impact assessment was made by the East of England Strategic Health Authority of its proposal to withdraw emergency cardiac provision in Ipswich Hospital. (282138)

This is a matter for the local national health service and it is the responsibility of primary care trusts in conjunction with local stakeholders to ensure that the services they commission meet the needs of the communities that they serve.