Campaigners hold vigil outside meeting to discuss possible Hinchingbrooke Hospital merger
- Credit: Archant
A vigil was held outside a public meeting to discuss the planned merger of Hinchingbrooke Hospital with the Peterborough and Stamford NHS Foundation Trust.
Members of the Hands off Hinchingbrooke (HoH) group gathered outside the town hall in Huntingdon on Monday afternoon and gave out leaflets as part of their campaign to fight plans to merge the two hospitals next April.
Jane Howell, told The Hunts Post she hoped people would continue to support HoH and was confident the campaign had made a difference.
“We always intended to make our presence felt and I think we have achieved that. We have all been to loads of meetings and encouraged people to sign the petition and if nothing else we have made it more difficult for them to make this decision and not consult widely. We are not resigned to the merger plans, but we are realistic, in that, we accept the decision has already been made.”
Hinchingbrooke’s chief executive Lance McCarthy chaired the meeting which attracted 35 members of the public, including NHS staff.
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He outlined the case for merger and said the full business case would be put before both hospital boards in September.
He told the audience there was a “compelling case for collaboration” and the board needed to find a “different solution rather than continue to plough the same furrow”.
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He also revealed a five-year plan had been drawn up, which would bring Hinchingbrooke to the point of financial stability.The hospital posted a deficit of £17 million in April.
Mr McCarthy also said it would be two to three years before the hospitals were fully integrated and “working as one”.
Audience members complained that Hinchingbrooke had been used as a “political football” in the last five years and said the hospital had “lacked leadership”.
Many complained that the merger plans were a “done deal” and others said they didn’t believe the public consultation and feedback would have any impact.
A public meeting will be held at the Priory Centre in St Neots on September 19.