The angry head of a Solihull Hospital fundraising group is urging members to plough their funds into another cause.
Jim Bumstead, chairman of Friends in Retirement Solihull, has written to members recommending money raised in the future be given to St John’s Ambulance because he has “lost faith” in the facility.
In a letter to FIRS central branch leaders, where he stressed he was writing in a personal capacity, Mr Bumstead raised fears over the future of Solihull Hospital and the way funds are being spent.
He claims information screens set up in Solihull’s Accident and Emergency department, which he believes were purchased with funds raised by FIRS, were not working correctly.
“If they are going to spend money on these screens, at least get them working properly,” Mr Bumstead said. “I sat in front of one of these screens showing a lot of adverts, interspersed with the message ‘waiting time is now two hours.’ But this message remained unchanged despite a queue ranging from 30 to three people. When I inquired, I was told they don’t update the waiting time display.”
He claimed Solihull FIRS, which provides recreational activities for the retired and over 50s, has raised money for the hospital for the past 38 years.
Following a report by the Care Quality Commission two weeks ago, which called for ‘public honesty’ about what is offered at Solihull’s A&E after the removal of key services, Mr Bumstead said he has lost faith in the trust.
“Solihull Hospital has in effect being demoted to Cottage Hospital status with some specialist services – but without local care available how long will any of it last?”
Mr Bumstead has also raised concerns over ambulance turnaround times at the hospital – a well-publicised issue in recent months.
“I am recommending that monies raised to aid health help in Solihull should be directed to St John’s Ambulance, then there may just be an ambulance when you need one.
“Further monies raised will be throwing good after bad,” he claimed.
Emma Hale, head of fundraising for Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Friends in Retirement Solihull group has not donated any funds to the Heart of England NHS Charity.
“We do believe, however, that a donation of around £750 has been made in recent times to the Friends of Solihull Hospital for their work in supporting the services at the Trust. The Friends have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds over the years and brought equipment which has improved services for the local people of Solihull. Neither the Heart of England Charity nor the Friends of Solihull has purchased the TV screens in A&E at Solihull.”
Lisa Thomson, managing director for Solihull Hospital, said: “We are committed to providing Solihull residents and patients with safe and high-quality care. We fully support the sharing of regular, up to date feedback on what patients think about our services.”
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