IT seems you can’t open a newspaper or switch on the telly these days without some new controversy being discussed about our health service. But what’s actually happening here in Solihull?
Whatever arguments are raging in the political world, here I think some very positive changes are taking place. The new Heart of England Chief Executive, Dr Mark Newbold, is making some changes to our hospital in Solihull that should make it more accountable to us and give us some say on the way it’s run.
For the first time Solihull Hospital will have its own dedicated Head Nurse, Fiona Burton. Fiona is directly responsible for care standards for patients and driving up nursing standards.
There’ll be a local management team which will be headed by the previous chief of the Care Trust, Claire Molloy. I met Claire last week, and we agreed that involving local people is a top priority.
The reorganisation of health services in Solihull means the hospital team will also take over the running of community health services. This makes sense. Before this change, hospitals got their income from charging for admitting people to hospital and for the procedures done to them. Hospital is a place most people would wish to avoid unless absolutely necessary, and now they’ll have an interest in keeping people OUT of hospital.
But one area of concern is the closure of wards, and what that means for the future of our hospital. After the maternity unit debacle, like many people I’m suspicious when I think I’m being kept in the dark about change.
I went to see Dr Newbold last week, to check out some rumours I’d heard from patients and staff about transfer of surgery away from Solihull. He assured me that surgery would remain, and Solihull may be asked to do more planned surgery.
We discussed complaint handling. People often come to me when their complaint has been handled poorly. Dr Newbold told me he was changing the emphasis to putting things right rather than indulging in a formal investigation process.
I discussed with Claire Molloy a Provider Partnership: involving patients, elected representatives, clinicians, doctors and managers in looking at possible changes BEFORE they
For me, whether the new management succeeds or fails will be judged on how well they keep you and me in the loop, and how well they involve us and consult us before decisions are made; not when it’s all too late.