By the Chair of Bude Labour Party (all political persuasions are free to send in opinion pieces).
Usually, I try to cover Bude events from a Labour perspective, but there are some things that transcend party politics, and the need to save Stratton MIU Overnight services is one of them.
Monday 8th April sees a Bude Network Community Panel meeting (7.00pm at the Conference Room in the Parkhouse Centre) where we’ve been promised an update on Stratton MIU’s situation.
So why are only 10 minutes of a two-hour meeting devoted to the threat to our local hospital?
Perhaps Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust think that is all we need. Perhaps they think we will just accept their suggestions that this cut is an ‘opportunity’. Perhaps they think Bude people will just accept things and keep quiet.
Well, there is a group of from Bude and the surrounding parishes who are bringing people together to fight this threat and are campaigning to protect our hospital.
(You can find them on Facebook here and they hope to have a website up and running soon.)
They have over a 1200 members on Facebook, they have collected over 500 petition signatures (and this is rising every day), written dozens of letters, and collected scores of testimonials from people detailing how Stratton MIU has impacted on their lives.
Among those testimonials are comments like:
‘111’s advice was to drive my 90 year-old mother-in-law to Barnstaple’
‘If it hadn’t been for the MIU team, there’s a good chance my daughter, and I wouldn’t be here today.’
‘If the MIU hadn’t been open to give my little boy care, we would be in a very different situation now.’
‘I can recall turning up at the MIU at 3 am with a little baby struggling to breathe. Imagine the journey to Barnstable.’
We have been given ‘data’ to show that not-enough people are using overnight services, and in the same breath local people are discouraged from using the service because a MIU ‘doesn’t do that’.
Back in 2017 the then Director of Kernow CCG told it’s governing body that their future plans included ‘a commitment to replace Minor Injury Units with fewer Urgent Treatment Centres’. And while there was much rowing back from that suggestion, in October 2018 we learnt that Stratton was not to be upgraded to a UTC, but we had nothing to worry about because our MIU was a 24 hour service. Two months later they ‘temporarily’ shut the overnight service at Stratton!
Save Stratton MIU had their first meeting last week and agreed on three key demands:
- Re-open Stratton MIU overnight services as a doctor-led 24/7 hospital.
- Upgrade Stratton Hospital to an Urgent Treatment Centre.
- Establish a locally elected panel to support a hospital that is fit for the needs of our 11 parishes.
Volunteers from the group will be at the meeting on Monday 8th April to make clear these demands to the panel and how local people feel about the threat to a hospital that has served our growing communities for over 150 years, had Millions donated to it from local charities, and was described in 2013 as a ‘state-of-the art facility’.
They will also be asking local people if they wish to join them in a variety of future activities to show NHS Foundation Trust Managers that Bude people will not accept this cut in our much needed hospital service, that we will not be quiet and move on. Do not be surprised if you find friends and neighbours asking if you would like to sign a petition, and if you can help to make the community’s voice heard.
People living in our 11 parishes are further from an A&E hospital than anywhere else in England, and our populations are growing as our services are reducing. The demands of Save Stratton MIU are the very least that we need.
And as I said at the start, this is more important than political party loyalties, and Saving Stratton MIU wants to work with everyone. We need to work together to get the hospital we need and to protect it against future threats.