In February. we published an email that had been sent by Tameside health campaigner, Rod McCord, to the Member of Parliament for Ashton-under-Lyne, Angela Rayner.
In his email, Mr. McCord, a member of the Tameside Hospital Action Group (THAG), had referred to plans to cut 246 beds at the hospital (by 2020) thereby reducing bed capacity at the hospital, by 55% and the "virtual wall of silence surrounding bed cuts and the future of A&E."
At the time of writing, Ms. Rayner, had not replied to Mr. McCord's email of 5th December 2016. As we feel that it is in the public interest, we are now publishing below a reply Mr. McCord received from her dated 20th February 2017 dealing with some of the matters raised in his initial email to her. Although in his email Mr McCord asked Angela Rayner:
"we would appreciate your comments on the proposed axing of 246 beds at the hospital, which includes the demolition of the Charlesworth Building", Ms. Rayner declined to comment.
Tameside Hospital has a relatively - compared with England overall - low level of hospital doctors per bed and a relatively high level of bed occupancy, which are both factors significantly associated with high adjusted mortality ratios - death rates. In July 2013, the hospital was put into special measures having been found to have serious failures in the care it was providing.
Although Tameside Hospital recently received a 'GOOD' rating from the 'Care Quality Commission' (CQC), last month, Professor Sir Brian Jarman of Imperial College London, told Paul Broadhurst, a Dukinfield health campaigner that between April 2007 and January 2017, nine mortality alerts about individual diagnoses or procedures had been sent to the Chief Executive of Tameside Hospital from his unit at Imperial College, London. In addition, he pointed out: "Tameside's SHMI values are high every year from 2011/12 to 2015/16 (the latest data available)."
Responding to the letter from Angela Rayner MP, Mr. McCord told Northern Voices:
"THAG welcomes these explicit assurances from the Chief Executive of Tameside Hospital that there will be no reduction in bed capacity at Tameside Hospital unless and until the level of patient demand permits it and that the new Integrated Care Organisation (ICO), has no plans to downgrade its A&E department as part of its future strategy. We will continue to monitor developments closely."