The Friends - work since hospital closure

Home » The Friends – work since 2020

In January 2020 the Friends met with NHS and were informed a review of ALL community hospitals in Grampian would be taking place, starting with Insch. Assurance was given by NHSG that a new boiler would be fitted to “ensure the hospital remains operational during the review”.

March 2020 we were informed that Insch Hospital would be closing temporarily, to consolidate staff in Inverurie and Huntly. Also to close, were Aboyne and Turriff Hospitals. We were not allowed to communicate this to the community but we were assured this was “not closure by the back door” for Insch Hospital.

The following months proved very difficult for Friends to liaise with community because of lack of communication with NHS.

Insch GPs experienced great difficulty caring for their patients in Inverurie Hospital and ultimately this arrangement failed.

After a walk around of the hospital by an AHSCP Location Manager, a report went to the Clinical Governance Group who agreed - for safety reasons - that the hospital would need to remain closed. Ratification of the closure by the Clinical Governance Group was not made transparent to the community.

(The Partnership and NHSG had repeatedly used the fact that Insch Hospital only had 5 beds open as a reason for closure prior to this - due to staffing issues)

Insch H&SC Review Steering Group – September 2020 was set up to discuss their building report – we did not agree with this report and continued to request that the agreed works on the boiler be carried out at that time. At a meeting in January 2020, we offered to fund a Project Manager to assist with the review process, however following formation of the steering group, this offer was then rejected.  We were informed that no work across any NHS site could be done during the pandemic but are aware that work across other community hospital sites were agreed and started during this time.  We were advised by AHSCP that re-opening Insch Hospital would de-stabilize the nursing teams at Inverurie and Huntly. Even planning for day cases could not be developed because Insch staff could not be released from Inverurie and Huntly to cover them.

When winter surge planning was being done, Friends asked for Insch Hospital to be considered and we were confident that we could get 8 beds up and running. We continued to be told no work was allowed to be carried out during the pandemic.

March 2021 we launched the Have a Heart campaign to raise awareness to the community of the hospital’s continued closure.

May 2021 The IJB meeting ordered a Strategic Needs Assessment to be carried out. Following the meeting, the IJB welcomed reviewing health and social care services for Insch GP patient population and hailed it as an “exciting opportunity to develop services according to local need”.  We were seriously concerned about the Strategic Needs Assessment following sight of the survey and questions and had real reservations about participating in such a flawed process but we went along with and tried to cooperate as much as possible. 960 people completed the survey!  Production of the SNA report was consistently delayed. We tried to raise our proposals re various service models and short-term in-patient bed arrangements given the devastating impact of the bed crisis, but AHSCP continued to completely refuse to engage with us. Neither the Friends nor the community were informed of the continuing delay and were eventually informed that the Partnership had updated the website.

December 2021 saw our AGM and public meeting. No member of AHSCP or NHSG attended despite being invited.

March 2022 The stakeholder groups began. There were 5 Commmunity Representatives on that group.The SNA report was produced with no consultation with the community or the Friends. The stakeholders group were told they had to use the SNA report without any consultation. No-one saw the report before it was finalized. When they eventually saw it they were extremely concerned about the contents of the report. They also expressed concern about options appraisal process.

IJB meeting June 2022 – community representatives, along with the Friends, prepared to address the IJB. No member of IJB acknowledged anything that Chris Humphris (Friends) or Frank Musgrave (BCC) said. IJB agreed that Insch Hospital would become a well-being hub and discount options 1, 2 and 3 (the 3 options with in-patient beds in existing hospital).  The options for service delivery would be determined based on needs identified on the SNA. The Friends and the community have no idea which needs have been identified. It is now clear from a recent meeting that neither do the Partnership.

Further update forthcoming................