Campaigners Reveal £760,000 for Ashby Health Care 'Sitting In Bank Account'

By Graham Hill

24th Jan 2020 | Local News

  • Campaigners quizzed health chiefs and councillors about where the cash is
  • Ashby Civic Society had concerns that NHS commissioners are failing to keep their promises
  • The closure of Ashby Hospital was announced in 2014 as it 'was not fit for purpose'
  • Promises were made that Ashby would get a 'state-of-the-art treatment centre'

By Amy Orton

Around £760,000 that is available for health bosses to spend on health care in Ashby is sat in a bank account unspent while patients are travelling miles for treatment.

The figure came to light after campaigners quizzed health chiefs and councillors about where the cash is that they were promised would be used "state-of-the-art one stop treatment centre" in Ashby after the closure of Ashby Hospital.

The BBC Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) asked North West Leicestershire District Council for confirmation of how much money they are holding for West Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (WLCCG).

The authority confirmed it has £760,000 in its accounts for health care provision in Ashby.

It also revealed that since 2014, WLCCG has requested just £8,450.93 to fund health care provision in the town.

It was unable to give details of dates the money must be spent by at this stage but confirmed that as yet, no money has been sent back to developers.

The money, handed over as part of section 106 agreements – cash paid by developers to offset the impact and provide facilities in areas where they are building new homes – has strict conditions attached to it meaning it can only be spent on providing health care in Ashby by the CCG. The council is legally not allowed to spend the cash.

The news comes after Ashby Nub News reported earlier this month that Labour Councillors are supporting Ashby Civic Society's concerns that NHS commissioners are failing to keep their promises to provide care closer to home.

Ken Ward, the society's chairman said: "Throughout our campaigning to save Ashby Hospital we were repeatedly told that if and when it was closed, we would get a 'state-of-the-art treatment centre' here in Ashby in its place.

"X rays, scanning, outpatient facilities, the lot. We were assured it would be better than the hospital and provide a wide range of services meaning people here in Ashby wouldn't face long journeys for treatment.

"As far as we know that centre hasn't even been talked about a top level, we haven't even been able to find out how much section 106 money there is."

The closure of Ashby Hospital was announced back in 2014 with CCG bosses saying it was not fit for purpose.

Speaking at the time Dr Nick Wilmott, from WLCCG, said: "The outpatient facilities at the moment are not fit for purpose.

"Part of our plans now are to provide state-of-the-art outpatient facilities, a greater range of specialities and more services closer to people's homes."

The site has since been sold off for £500,000 which health bosses confirmed at a meeting last week has since been spent on technology including laptops to allow staff to work more flexibly.

Mr Ward said: "They've spent half a million on laptops, there's money there that they could spend on this treatment centre and nothing is happening.

"We've asked questions and not been told answers. All this time people are having to travel to Leicester, Lichfield, Derby, Burton for treatment.

"It's not acceptable. This is taxpayers' money, it's sitting in coffers and they won't tell us where it is or how or even if it's going to be used."

Before the closure WLCCG said that a public consultation found 52 per cent of people agreed with the closure.

Mr Ward said: "We were out campaigning and speaking to people and for a lot of them the promise of an outpatient centre was enough to change their minds and steer them to agreeing with the closure.

"I think if you asked those people now they might have a different view.

"No statement has been made about why this hasn't happened. That was a busy place, lots of patients used it, there were lots of services on offer. None of which have been replaced and the CCG come here and say there's this clinic or visiting healthcare professional at the doctor's surgery. Not good enough."

The LDRS has asked the CCG about the cash and its plans for it, but is yet to receive a response.

Speaking at the meeting, Caroline Trevithick, chief nurse and quality lead and deputy managing director for WLCCG, told councillors and campaigners that new services and clinics are being introduced at the town's new out of town GP Practice.

     

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