Winchester & Chandler's Ford MP Steve Brine chaired a packed public meeting in the city this evening (27th March 2014) about the future of hospital services for Winchester.
Local NHS bosses outlined plans for a possible reconfiguration of services across Winchester and Basingstoke ahead of a formal consultation sometime this year. The meeting, held at the United Church on Jewry Street and attended by around 150 people, is the latest in the MPs series of 'ASK' meetings.
Mr Brine has been a firm supporter of the Royal Hampshire County Hospital for many years, including before he was even an MP, and his wife Susie gave birth to the couples' children, Emily and William, at Florence Portal House in 2006 and 2010.
The panel included Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust Chief Executive Mary Edwards and Chief Medical Officer Dr Andrew Bishop, Caroline Brunt (Associate Director of Midwifery and Women's Health),Claire Iffland (Clinical Director for Women's Health) and Dr Nigel Sylvester from the West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group.
Steve Brine kicked off the meeting by outlining his drive to see as many constituents as possible have knowledge of and get the chance to question what could be major changes to hospital care. Mary Edwards set out some of the clinical arguments driving change in the NHS and Dr Sylvester set out the role of the new GP Clinical Commissioning Group in the process and the way the modern NHS looks to treat some of the major conditions.
The panel subsequently took comments and questions from the floor for over and hour-and-a-half which covered maternity services, oncology, Emergency Care, the financing and location of any new hospital, breast services and the consequences of keeping the status quo.
Speaking after the meeting Steve Brine said; "This is the biggest public meeting I have organised so far and that doesn't surprise as one way or another we all use, and rely, on the local NHS. As I have said many times over the past few years, despite spending more time trying to understand the huge complexities of modern acute medicine than anything else since becoming the MP, it is still the subject which worries me most.
"We've spent year's saying the clinicians, not the politicians, should be the ones to shape services in the NHS and they've come forward with some pretty sizeable proposals for change. My recent Health Check survey and the feedback tonight shows they throw up many questions so I was pleased this meeting was able to hear the clinical case for change and deal with some myths but above all, give local people the chance to have their say and ask their question of the panel.
"My sense is that people are really engaged with this now, want to know more and are willing to give these proposals a hearing. There was actually a lot of support for what is being put forward in terms of a new critical treatment hospital north of Winchester and we look now to what is likely to be a formal consultation."
Pictured; Steve addressing the meeting at the United Church in Winchester; and bottom listening to the debate.
More information ...
Visit Steve's PRIORITY NHS pages on this website
Listen to a short audio clip from Steve following the meeting