Wiltshire Publications

New health plans for Wiltshire – but no mention of Westbury

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 at 10:52 am.

HEALTH campaigners in Westbury have criticised  the recent strategic plan for health services in West Wiltshire saying that once again Westbury has been ignored.

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)  announced last month that its governing body has approved a ‘strategic outline case’ which recommends a way forward for health services in the Melksham, Trowbridge and Chippenham area of Wiltshire.

The investment would include one community hospital (hub), one community ‘spoke’ and three urgent treatment centres, alongside development of primary care estate to increase much needed capacity for GP practices.

But there was no mention of Westbury and local health campaigners say the town already has an NHS facility which could be used as part of the plans and hope this will be considered by the CCG.

‘Disappointed’

Chair of the local group, Sensible Thinking on Patients (STOP), Erica Watson said, “The STOP group were very interested to read about the CCG’s strategic plans for the future of our health care and although we are disappointed that Westbury was not mentioned at all, we do hope that our town and its pressing health needs and substantial population increase will be seriously considered when decisions are made about the location of the hub and other care centres mentioned in their press release.

“Westbury Hospital already has outline planning permission and surely the cost of renovating it to meet present clinical standards will be considerably less than the cost of a new building.

‘Short-sighted and hasty’

“STOP are now even more confident that the original decision to close Westbury Hospital was short-sighted and hasty, given the CCG’s plan now to build a new community hospital.

“The community’s protest about the loss of the town’s hospital has proved to be entirely justified. We were ignored, but we were right all along, weren’t we?

“We sincerely hope that the CCG will listen to the service users this time, who know how leaving the Westbury community out of their strategic plans can adversely affect the provision of adequate and equal access to the health services which other communities enjoy.

“A facility in Westbury would improve access to care for both Westbury and the Warminster areas. At present both of those communities have to travel to access MIU and other services, meaning that those without transport are seriously compromised.

“We feel very strongly that Westbury must be included in the new strategic plans for West Wiltshire – our town has also seen a very significant population growth, with many more houses planned and yet nowhere in the reported plans does Westbury feature yet, although the CCG do admit that plans for the rest of Wiltshire will follow.

‘Use existing hospital’

“We fully appreciate that Trowbridge, Chippenham and Melksham also have expected growth, but so too does Westbury and we are disappointed that once again Westbury seems to one of the last towns to be considered.

“No-one can deny that our town is in desperate need of investment and what better way than to use the existing hospital site to improve the health of the area?

“We look forward to the CCG’s response to the omission of Westbury in any report.”