Portsmouth and Solent hospital trusts under fire for 'alarming' underuse of Fareham Community Hospital
HOSPITAL trusts in Portsmouth have been accused of ‘flushing away’ thousands of pounds of taxpayer’s money following an ‘alarming’ underuse of Fareham Community Hospital.
Attorney general and Fareham MP Suella Braverman said ‘urgent changes’ were needed as the hospital in Sarisbury has been recording an average footfall of just 40 per cent.
During a recent meeting with the hospital’s taskforce it was revealed to Mrs Braverman that that some organisations had been booking and paying for facilities at the hospital without showing up, or booking the wrong facilities.
Specifically, between May and August this year, 76 per cent of the no-shows at the hospital were made by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust and 24 per cent by the Solent NHS Trust.
Mrs Braverman said: ‘Increasing usage at Fareham Community Hospital has been a personal commitment of mine ever since I took office in 2015. That is why I was concerned to hear of persistent inaction and wastage at the facility.
‘It is incredibly alarming that footfall continues to peak at a meagre 40 per cent.
‘I simply cannot remain silent on this issue, when we are faced with the reality of thousands of pounds of taxpayer’s money being flushed away by organisations that are failing to follow through on their commitments.
‘It is clear urgent changes are long overdue and I will be strongly advocating for a robust mitigation strategy from the CCG.’
According to the taskforce, some groups, which act as a lifeline to people in need of care, have moved out of the hospital as a result of all the rooms being fully booked - including sensory groups for dementia patients that are now paying for rooms elsewhere.
Executive member for health and public protection at Fareham Borough Council, Councillor Trevor Cartwright, agreed.
‘I have been constantly demanding action on the occupancy of the hospital, which when it opened was 40 per cent and 10 years later it is still the same, which is a total waste of the facility,’ he said.
‘It is even more alarming that 100 per cent of no-shows were by the two trusts. The residents of Fareham deserve better.’
David Bailey, deputy managing director for the Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group - on behalf of the CCG and two trusts, said: ‘The local NHS remains fully committed to ensuring that Fareham Community Hospital is used to its full potential, as we recognise it is a vital and beneficial asset for the local community.
‘We are exploring how we can co-ordinate room booking arrangements to ensure capacity can be used as flexibly and fully as possible.
‘The ongoing situation with the pandemic will have had some impact on room use over the past few months.
‘We will, however, continue to work together to ensure that every service has the accommodation and equipment it needs to operate effectively and deliver high quality, appropriate care, whilst trying to make best use of every available space for the benefit of other users, too.’