Welwyn Hatfield MP pokes holes in NHS data on proposed partial closure of Welwyn Garden City hospital

PUBLISHED: 17:03 05 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:08 05 July 2019

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.

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Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps has questioned data provided by the NHS East and North Herts Clinical Comissioning Group (CCG), which justifes the proposed partial closure of Welwyn Garden City's urgent care centre.

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.

Mr Shapps said he had "cause to question the data" used in calculating whether to partial close the New QEII Hospital facility, after he asked the CCG to explain its decision.

In a letter published today, he said the group admitted to using data provided from other CCG areas - not just our own East and North Hertfordshire area - on patient usage of urgent care centres.

"I note that this was only the case for one of the years for which you have provided information," Mr Shapps said.

"Given that the 2016-17 figures indicate that the total use of the UCC by all patients is 25 per cent higher than the number of locals alone who use it, how would you respond to the claim that by not providing the complete UCC usage figures the CCG appears to be seeking to make decisions based on partial information only?"

Even if 10 people a night use the UCC, according to the CCG, "that still leaves around 3,000 patients a year impacted by your proposals", he said.

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He also hit back at not beeing consulted on the proposed closure, which was floated as an idea by the CCG in 2017/18.

"Do you accept that a failure to consult elected members whose job it is to represent the concerns of the public falls short of the kind of open and honest consultation that should be carried out?" he asked.

Chief executive of East and North Herts CCG, Beverley Flowers, said in her response to Mr Shapps on June 26 that "the future of the UCC is not in doubt".

"We have invested in the integrated urgent care clinical advice service, the first of its kind in the country, which has made a wider range of services available," Ms Flowers said.

"We constantly strive to improve outcomes for patients - making the best use of the limited number of clinically trained staff available to us."

The CCG is meeting with Mr Shapps next Friday, July 12, to go through the groups' responses.

"I look forward to meeting you next week to discuss these follow-up questions, along with other serious concerns that my constituents continue to raise with me about these flawed proposals," he said in the letter today.

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