CAMBRIDGESHIRE County Council is set to back the rescue plan for Hinchingbrooke Hospital, but with reservations about public transport from the north of the county and some concerns about alternative facilities in the community. Huntingdonshire District C
CAMBRIDGESHIRE County Council is set to back the rescue plan for Hinchingbrooke Hospital, but with reservations about public transport from the north of the county and some concerns about alternative facilities in the community.
Huntingdonshire District Council's cabinet is expected to row in behind the plan as well at its meeting tomorrow (Thursday), though it, too, has some concerns.
County councillors also complained that the future of Doddington Hospital, near March, had not been fully factored in to the Hinchingbrooke proposals by Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust.
Both councils are responding to a three-month public consultation on the plans, which ends on May 22. The county's full response will follow its meeting on May 15.
A county council statement said after his cabinet's meeting last week: "The re-provision of some services within the community will present a challenge to some county council services, particularly to adult support services and public transport.
It adds: "Major changes in the behaviour of GPs in relation to way patients are referred for treatment and of the public in their use of primary and secondary health services are required if Hinchingbrooke Healthcare Trust is to make the required savings and for good quality health services to continue to be delivered to the public in a clinically-appropriate way.
"Accident and emergency services need to be more flexible than the current proposals allow."
The PCT moved quickly to reassure county councillors. Dr Dennis Cox, a St Ives GP and Chairman of PCT's professional executive committee, said: "We do understand the council's concerns about the impact of these proposals on the council's own adult services but there is no intention for there to be any adverse impact.
"The PCT is proposing a £2.5 million investment in community based services in Huntingdonshire which will, we believe, enable the successful shift of hospital based activity into the community setting, closer to people's homes.
"With regard to transport issues, the PCT will focus community-based services either in market towns with good transport links or on the Hinchingbrooke Hospital site itself."
HDC is expected to seek reassurance about the robustness of the £14.5million-a-year savings identified as achievable by the hospital and PCT, and to say the £2.5million planned investment in community services appears not to include alterations to buildings, such as GPs' surgeries.