NHS group hits back at Welwyn Hatfield MP 'misleading' data claims

PUBLISHED: 17:05 09 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:05 09 July 2019

The urgent care centre at QEII in Welwyn Garden City. Picture: NHS.

The urgent care centre at QEII in Welwyn Garden City. Picture: NHS.

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The NHS East and North Herts Clinical Comissioning Group (CCG) has denied that the data they have put forward as part of the consultation on the proposed partial closure of Welwyn Garden City's urgent care centre is 'misleading'.

Dr Prag Moodley, a GP and Chair of East and North Hertfordshire CCG. Picture: NHS.Dr Prag Moodley, a GP and Chair of East and North Hertfordshire CCG. Picture: NHS.

MP Grant Shapps said in a letter on Friday he had "cause to question the data" used in calculating whether to partially close the New QEII Hospital facility, after he asked the CCG to explain its decision.

READ ONLINE: NHS proposes partial closure of Welwyn Garden City's urgent care centre

In a letter given to the Welwyn Hatfield Times today Dr Prag Moodley, a Hertfordshire GP and Chair of East and North Herts CCG, expressed concern that it was suggested that the usage figures in the CCG's engagement information are 'misleading'.

"The most recent figures on [the urgent care centre] only include visits by patients who live in east and north Hertfordshire," Dr Moodley said.

"This is because we are only entitled to receive information about the health services used by our own population.

The original questions Grant Shapps asked East and North Herts CCG CEO Beverley Flowers and chair Dr Prag Moodley. Picture: Supplied.The original questions Grant Shapps asked East and North Herts CCG CEO Beverley Flowers and chair Dr Prag Moodley. Picture: Supplied.

"However, with the help of the hospital trust which runs the urgent care centre (UCC), we have been able to put together the total number of patients who used the centre in 2016-17.

"Even when we include the numbers of patients from outside our area who use the UCC, there is still an average of less than one visitor per hour to the UCC between 10pm and 6am."

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READ ONLINE: Welwyn Hatfield politicians fight to stop partial closure of Welwyn Garden City's urgent care centre

Grant Shapps signing the 17 June dated letter to the East and North Herts CCG CEO Beverley Flowers. Picture: Supplied.Grant Shapps signing the 17 June dated letter to the East and North Herts CCG CEO Beverley Flowers. Picture: Supplied.

In a letter published on Friday, Mr Shapps said the group admitted to using data provided from other CCG areas - not just the east and north Herts area - on patient usage of urgent care centres.

He also hit back that he was not consulted by the NHS group on its plans.

Dr Moodley said that "the overnight closure of the UCC was first considered as an urgent, temporary measure during the winter of 2017/18, in response to a request from East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust", but avoided this outcome.

He added: "Due to the ongoing low numbers of patients using the UCC overnight and difficulty recruiting expert staff, our Governing Body made the decision in February this year to launch a public engagement on the proposal to close the UCC overnight.

"There are strict rules which the NHS must follow before elections which mean that it would have been inappropriate to begin negotiations with political stakeholders, including MPs, during this period."

"I am very much looking forward to meeting Mr Shapps on Friday to answer his further questions and listen to his views."

You can give your views in person or online at: qeiiucc.enhertsccg.nhs.uk

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