Birmingham hospitals may lose 1,500 beds

PROPOSALS to close up to 1,500 hospital beds in Greater Birmingham - about a quarter of the total - while investing pounds 20m next year in primary care, were disclosed yesterday.

The West Midlands Regional Health Authority said the bed closures would come over the next five years as day surgery and shorter lengths of stay reduced the need for them, and as pounds 17m a year is transferred out of Greater Birmingham under the NHS funding formula.

The sweeping changes would affect 1.4 million people in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull. It is proposed that all large hospitals should be slimmed down rather than some be shut. The consultative document, Looking Forward, says closing a major hospital would be easier and save more money. However, people would then be forced to travel for care.

The new package replaces the pounds 500m Building a Healthy Birmingham plan which proved hopelessly ambitious a few years ago. But it would still see a string of specialist hospitals and units close and merge, with the Children's Hospital transferred into a refurbished General Hospital, and the Eye, Skin and Women's hospitals all closing and moving into other hospitals. Cancer services will be concentrated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

To help make the plan viable in a city where the health services have been in crisis, the region yesterday wrote off last year's pounds 12.5m deficit incurred by South Birmingham Health Authority. It is likely to do the same for a similar sum this year.

Behind the plan are assumptions that day surgery, which accounts for 43 per cent of all planned surgery, will rise to at least 60 per cent of the total, while the length of stay in hospital, which has already been cut by a third for medical patients in five years, will fall further. Earlier diagnosis, faster-acting drugs, better hospital management and improved community services allow that, the document says.

Dr Ken Taylor, co-ordinator of the Birmingham Doctors' Emergency Admissions Group, said he was 'appalled' by the loss of up to 1,500 beds. 'I do not believe that number is justified by the facts, and I am sure it is driven entirely by the financial consideration that Greater Birmingham is to lose pounds 17m a year under the funding formula.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee