LETTER: Doddington outpatients is a service we want and need to retain
I attended a meeting in March Town Hall on June 2 to hear about the potential closure of the outpatients department at Doddington Hospital which could cease to operate from May 31 2017 after which it would transfer to Peterborough or Cambridge.
Certain allegations were made about GPs deliberately not referring patients to Doddington which, if true, I find absolutely outrageous. (This however has not been my experience as there was no hesitation in referring me to Doddington by my GP’s Surgery at Mercheford House in March).
It was alleged that this was being done to manipulate usage of the service at Doddington therefore expediting its closure. Whether this was an instruction from “the top” is pure speculation but why else would GPs stop these referrals. It does make one wonder
There were also allegations made of collusion between Hinchingbrooke and Peterborough hospitals to divvy up services between them and this, it was said, would also have an adverse impact on Doddington outpatients.
The reality of the situation though is that Doddington is central to the Fenland district which has a population of over 92,000 and is a convenient service to residents.
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There is an ageing population and things should be made easier, not harder for people to attend hospital appointments.
Longer journey times to attend hospital appointments would be inevitable and it would also be more costly given that car parking is free at Doddington.
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Not so at other hospitals. It must also be remembered that as people grow older they may not necessarily wish to drive or can’t drive and therefore would have to rely on family and friends to get them to their appointments or use what can only be described as very average transport links in the area or very expensive taxis.
On the other side of the coin we read that new homes will be built in the area and therefore the population will increase.
Any increase in population must have proper services including easy access to hospitals. An appointment at Cambridge or Peterborough could take a full day when taking into account travelling. Also if people are working, not all employers are sympathetic to their employees’ medical problems and I say this out of knowledge.
The problems with the NHS lie a lot deeper than the potential closure of Doddington outpatients but any closure of Doddington outpatients would directly affect many people in this area.
Should Doddington outpatients close then it is almost inevitable that the Hospital would follow suit. The Government has said it would protect our NHS. Well put the rhetoric into practice by protecting Doddington outpatients– it is a service we want to retain and is a service we need to retain.