As we enter 2012, hospitals are very much in the news.
In Newark, Nottinghamshire, the group formerly known as Save Newark Hospital, which we`ve looked at before, has re-invented itself as Say Yes to Newark Hospital, "a non-party political group providing a voice for the population of Newark and District."
The new group plans a relaunch this month and it`s aims and activities are already being reported in the local newspaper at www.newarkadvertiser.co.uk . The group`s new web address is www.synh.org.uk .
Somewhat further south of the Trent. we find an interesting campaign developing in Teddington, Surrey.
Teddington Memorial Hospital is currently run by Hounslow and Richmond Healthcare NHS Trust. This body is currently applying for Foundation status with effect from 2013, and the proposal is for ownership of the Hospital to pass to the new body.
It must be stressed that there is no immediate threat to the hospital. However, local doctors and community groups fear that such a proposal will diminish local accountability. "We are fighting to make sure that it stays as a local hospital serving local needs" comment the Friends of Teddington Memorial Hospital, a community group mainly given over to fundraising and voluntary work, but which also has an impressive record of campaigning assertively (though very politely) when the need arises.
Other concerns are that the Hospital and grounds, currently valued at over £12m, could be sold or used as collateral for a loan in the future. There is particular concern that the proposed Foundation Trust might be too small to be viable and might merge with another similar body, thus further diluting local accountability and exacerbating current concerns over possible disposal of the Hospital and it`s site.
I`m sure the various interested parties can express themselves without further help from me, so I shall point you towards a document headed Community Briefing 2012 at www.friends-tmh.org.uk and similar postings at in the www.hamptonwick.org.uk and http://hamptonpn.ning.com .