Anger erupts over plan to reshuffle Barrow hospital cancer unit
Last updated at 15:03, Thursday, 14 March 2013
NURSES have called for the community to rally round after major changes were announced for Furness General Hospital’s dedicated oncology inpatient unit.
FGH has eight inpatient beds in the unit which opened in 2005 after a lengthy public fundraising campaign.
But yesterday, after the Evening Mail received several calls from concerned staff members, the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust confirmed it is considering major changes.
Dr Andrew Higham, UHMBT clinical director for elective medicine, confirmed the trust had launched a consultation with staff over the relocation of oncology and haematology inpatient care – but said the quality of care would not be affected.A nurse on the oncology ward said: “It’s absolutely terrible. I just think the public has been cheated. Our ward was funded by the community’s generous money and that was purely for oncology.
“On our ward it’s lovely and quiet and relatives can stay over and that’s just not going to happen on medical wards – not a chance. If they’re going to shut us, I don’t think we should go quietly. The community needs to make as much uproar as it can.”
There is an open visiting policy on the oncology ward, but the nurse questioned how that could be continued with patients on medical wards.
Another nurse, who has worked at the oncology unit for a number of years, rang the Evening Mail in tears.
She said: “Please, please fight for us. We need the people of Barrow, Ulverston and Millom, who helped to pay for the unit, to fight to save it.”
Dr Higham said that, on average, the eight beds were occupied less than 50 per cent of the time due to improved practices and planned discharges.
He said it was envisaged the length of stay for some patients will be further reduced due to the introduction of the palliative care Rapid Discharge Plan being piloted across the trust and the appointment of a palliative care consultant.
Dr Higham said: “The proposed changes will see oncology and haematology patients receiving inpatient care in a dedicated area on one of the acute medical wards at FGH. This will not in any way affect the treatment that these patients receive.
“The beds will remain isolated from other medical patients and they will continue to receive care from specialist oncology and haematology nurses.
“The haematology and oncology beds are currently situated some distance from the acute medical wards at FGH and there are concerns regarding ‘out of hours’ medical cover.
“A relocation of the oncology beds would improve patient safety and access to medical intervention, not only for oncology patients but also across the acute medical wards.
“The Oncology Unit at FGH is a fantastic unit and a large part of that is down to the dedication and support of the local public who raised funds to develop it, for which we are extremely grateful.
“I would like to reassure the public that we have no plans take away the unit they worked so hard to fund.”
First published at 16:18, Wednesday, 13 March 2013
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
I have been having treatment in this unit for several years and more to come. To split this dedicated specialist oncology team is a folly that will come back to bite us all. The process has been hoisted onto the staff and patients without serious thought or consultation. If it's all about money then let's have a flatter management structure with responsibility being devolved down the line. Getting rid of some of the fat-cats will save more money than people could imagine and allow the recruitment of more front-line staff. It's about time we stood against this nonsense in the name of efficiency, because efficiency it is not.
Thank goodness they Evening Mail is "bashing" the Trust. They talk about communication, honesty, transparency and consultation but that's all they do TALK. THEY DON'T ACTUALLY DO IT. Staff are being given a hard time by the "FATCATS" about contacting the Evening Mail. OKAY when your a Chief Nurse (another manager) earning Â£95,000 - Â£100,000 but the low-paid are having their hours,wages and jobs cut.
View all 76 comments on this article