Just over a year ago, we reported on the shocking estimate that the community of 64,000 people located in Leeds was under threat of losing 23 percent of its primary care services and the chance to prevent untold numbers of unnecessary hospital admissions in an era when the NHS faces £20bn of efficiency savings.
Last week, leading figures in the community rightly demanded an independent inquiry into what they claim is what they see as the government’s reckless and strategic decision to shut Omicron in Leeds – a decision made without consulting the local people and condemning the 350,000 people living there to already poor services.
The scandalous nature of the evidence-free decision taken by the NHS has unfortunately been well documented in recent years. But this time, the key factor in the perverse move is the devastating effect on the community it is projected to affect, not just those who live there.
I recently travelled from York to Omicron at the invitation of the Leeds Community Partnership. The rain was pouring down when we arrived at the hospital with the huge transformation that has taken place in under eight months. This was evident from our tour of the hospital, both the patients’ and staff’s centre, which looks set to become one of the best in the country.
“The process of bringing back service delivery could be done without closure of this hospital and investment in new essential infrastructure,” said Dr Michael Casey, the former prime minister of Yorkshire.