HEALTH chief Mark Newbold has said that it will be the local community who decide the future of services at Solihull Hospital.
This week, in an exclusive interview with David Irwin, the chief executive of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust outlines the changes in store.
“It isn’t our plan to run down the services here,” he said, when we raised the concerns of Solihull News readers.
“This hospital is a substantial part of the organisation and it’s actually the centre for several departments across the trust.”
One of the most controversial changes at Solihull, was the decision to downgrade maternity services earlier this year.
A consultation is underway and Dr Newbold said that the trust was continuing to review the situation.
He said the aim was for “localisation where possible and centralisation where necessary”.
And from April next year, there will be a major shake-up of the NHS nationwide - with Heart of England taking responsibility for community health services.
Dr Newbold said there was a “real opportunity” for Solihull to make the most of the new set-up, announced by the Government earlier this year.
“It’s a very radical change - some are saying the most dramatic since the NHS was set up over 60 years ago,” he explained.
“Local GPs, the borough council and others will be involved in making the decisions on any change in services.
“It won’t be Heart of England telling people what changes will be made, there will be a partnership locally.
“We want to get away from this idea that decisions are being driven by a big Birmingham hospital, that doesn’t care what happens in Solihull.”
But the changes also come at a time when there’s increasing financial pressure on the NHS.
“The plans are very exciting, but there will be a new sense of competition under the new set-up,” said Dr Newbold.
“And it comes at a time when there are tough financial challenges - even though our funding is ring-fenced.
“We’re still going to be reviewing on a continuous basis how we can make efficiency savings.”