Update on Mount Vernon Issues September 2014
The two guest-speakers at the September 2014 meeting of The Community Voice, of which we are a member, were Nick Carver, Chief Executive, East & North Herts. NHS Trust and Shane DeGaris, Chief Executive, The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS FT.
1. Nick Carver spoke first, noting that both East & North Herts. Trust and Hillingdon Hospitals FT have responsibilities on the Mount Vernon Hospital site. His own Trust is responsible for the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre services and Hillingdon FT for the whole site as landlord, and for provision of other NHS services.
2. He noted the successful Community Voice campaign to keep the Cancer Centre on the site, before outlining subsequent developments. Many millions of NHS and charitable funds have been invested in the Cancer Centre since 2007 to provide outstanding facilities, including modern linear accelerators and the first cyber-knife in the NHS. However, the cancer wards are poor. The Cancer Centre staff members are fantastic in their dedication to the service.
3. Unfortunately replacing the cancer wards is very complex. Hillingdon FT has its own needs on the site, but before a Business Case to rebuild the cancer wards can be written the East & North Herts. Trust must have title to the relevant land. Both Trusts are committed to resolving this problem.
4. Shane DeGaris outlined the many NHS services on the Mount Vernon site, which hosts over twenty successful businesses. His Trust wishes to consolidate high quality services around the Treatment Centre and this year it has opened a new endoscopy suite in the Treatment Centre and more recently the specialist neurological rehabilitation unit in Daniels Ward, which takes patients from a wide area and is massively oversubscribed. His Trust is subject to pressure to assist other NHS organisations with orthopaedic work and in Edmunds Ward it provides step down facilities for Northwick Park Hospital. Patients like the Treatment Centre, so do GPs and so do Commissioners.
5 His Trust is committed to the Mount Vernon site, but future plans for the site must suit both Trusts. The two Chief Executives meet every two or three weeks to progress towards that goal.
The speakers answered many questions from which the following points emerged
6. East & North Herts. Trust does not currently have funds with which to replace the Mount Vernon cancer wards. A solid Business Case will be the first step towards achieving that funding.
7. The Chairman of Michael Sobell Hospice, Rod Lucey, made a plea that palliative care should not be forgotten in the redevelopment of the cancer wards, which was acknowledged by Nick Carver.
8. At this point in time it is not possible to predict when it will be possible to produce a Business Case for replacement of the cancer ward block. Both Boards will be kept fully informed and when it is available the presentation of the Business Case to the Boards will take it into the public domain.
The speakers were thanked on behalf of the audience, which was endorsed by sustained applause as they left the hall.