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Neonatal care downgrade plans criticised

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

Leaders of the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust have criticised a report published by the Royal College of Child Health which recommends that the neonatal intensive care department at the University Hospital of North Tees be downgraded to provide special care only. 

The independent report would result in parents from East Durham and Hartlepool requiring to travel to Sunderland, Newcastle or Middlesburgh instead.  The leaders of the Trust claim that the report does not give adequate options, and Chief Executive, Alan Foster, stated “I’m quite passionate about this and have made my position clear across the region.  We are not against change but it needs to be evidence based and it needs to be for the right reasons”.

The report ‘lacks options’

Mr Foster went on to say that in his opinion not enough evidence was given in the report that outcomes had been compared with other hospitals, and not enough thought had gone in to how they should go about redesigning their services.  He pointed out that North Tees hospital’s results were on a par with Middlesburgh’s James Cook Hospital.  He also stated that women’s and children’s care needs are “inextricably linked”, and felt that the report did not take this into consideration.

Paul Garvin, the Trust’s chairman, also objected to the tone of the report, agreeing that it lacks options and adding that he objected to the language describing it as being “very biased and not objective”.

The closure of the North Tees hospital will see the services of five consultants being withdrawn from the local population.  Clinicians and Trust leaders will be discussing their concerns with the Royal College in a forthcoming meeting.

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