Unlike many York residents I was aware of Archways before the news about its planned closure on the 31st December was announced. I’d had the pleasure of knowing elderly relatives and younger friends were able to be safe there when they were clearly not ready for home without 24 hour care and, if necessary, observation.
The closure came as a great surprise when such a beneficial half-way house was clearly in demand and relieving the pressure on in-patient beds at the hospital, particularly for the younger people unable to look after themselves at home.
The fact that the news broke in the same week when the CCG made national headlines for attempting to stop those with a BMI over 30 of being operated on leads to one clear conclusion – it’s a cost-cutting measure – in fact a very short-term cost-cutting measure because as the hospital beds fill up from December onwards with the delayed discharges of patients young and old the Trust and CCG will hit the headlines yet again…
The report makes much of an ‘expanded Community Response Team’ but how will this be staffed when the local media reports an increased cost for temporary doctors & nurses DOUBLING to £27.4 million a year in the last year. The committee has been told that the Trust has been recruiting in foreign parts for more staff but that must be a less attractive option given BREXIT, so where will the staff for these expanded teams come from? Given the traffic and rural nature of the Vale of York how will all those visits be provided in a timely and needy nature?
The emergency call button connected to the telephone system can be a wonderful thing in some contexts but the freshly discharged patient subject to falls or seizures who lives some miles from the nearest Community Response Team may well die in the wait.
The idealistic and technological solutions that are paraded as a response to the last two governments NHS cuts should be tried and tested in a real world situation before being foisted on an unaware public surrounded by hyperbole and spin.
Archways is a purpose-built resource that has served the community of York for 12 years and been well praised. I do not see the point in closing it down at relatively short notice and without a replacement solution being tried and tested – patients will die or suffer needlessly – more discharges will be delayed. Rather than closure expansion should be the consideration.
Winter pressures will pile higher on the NHS and the soon to be less available social care.
(Delivered at City of York Council Health and Adult Social Care Policy and Scrutiny Committee 28th September 2016)