Two Cheshire West and Chester MPs have joined the campaign to fight against funding cuts that will stop sick children receiving hospital care in the comfort of their own homes.
Chester MP Chris Matheson and Ellesmere Port MP Justin Madders have spoken out against a decision by the West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to stop providing the £450,000 funding for the service at the Countess of Chester Hospital, which enables more beds to be available for young people and helps them feel more secure by receiving care at home.
Despite the CCG saying that the service had been introduced as a pilot and was being pulled because subsequent anticipated savings had ‘not been realised’, the news has sparked a public outcry, particularly from parents who have benefited from the service, and it has prompted Mr Madders to write a letter to Alison Lee, the CEO of the CCG, asking her to consider pausing the change until an impact assessment had been carried out.
He wrote: “I am very concerned that the CCG has decided to stop funding the children’s hospital at home service, operated by the Countess of Chester.
“I have reviewed the statement issued which suggests the scheme was only a pilot and was expected to end at this time. However, given that you always therefore knew that this point would be arrived at, it begs the question as to why the news has come as such a shock to clinicians and patients alike.
“Given the level of public concern about this decision I would ask that you consider pausing this change until both a full consultation and impact assessment have been carried out."
A petition set up by parents less than a week ago has already amassed more than 4,500 signatures in the hope the CCG will reconsider their decision.
Important campaign for Chester
Mr Matheson said: “This is a really important campaign in Chester. We must raise awareness of the service and remind the decision makers that the people who have benefited from its existence hold it in very high regard.
“The people who need this service will still need to be treated somewhere and it will be more expensive in a hospital. This whole situation is a direct result of the Conservative Party breaking up the NHS into a fractured service and setting one part against another - I want to see collaboration replace competition and chaos in our NHS."
To sign the petition click here.