|From left to right: Caroline Trevithick, Toby Saunders, Rev John Whittaker, Lynda Gibbs|
The meeting at St Mary’s Church on the Thursday 28th April organised by Lynda Gibbs was extremely well attended with approximately 50 people there despite the short notice showing the passion of the people of Hinckley in this historic site. It was ably chaired by Reverend John Whittaker, who opened the meeting by introducing the representatives of West Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Toby Saunders, Managing Director and Caroline Trevithick, Chief Nurse & Quality Lead and Lynda Gibbs organiser and campaigner representing those wishing to Save Hinckley Cottage Hospital.
A highly professional presentation was given by the CCG showing which services were likely to be moved from the hospital and the possible options for change. It was stated that the Hospital on Mount Road was owned by NHS Property Services who act as landlord for the building. These potential changes included moving some services to building behind the hospital, some to the hospital on Ashby Road and some services to the local GP surgeries. Caroline Trevithick gave the details of the move of general anaesthetic operations to the University Hospitals of Leicester (Glenfield Leicester Royal). The introduction of a clean room facility that was JAG approved.
There were then presentations from David Bill and Michael Mullaney both calling for expansion of services in Hinckley and Bosworth as our population has expanded rapidly and the urgent need for a walk in centre or urgent care facility.
Then Jan Kirby, read a fascinating history of the site and again called for its’ saving. This was followed by a plea by both Ann Pendlebury for increase of funds both locally and nationally so that not only our history but our services could be saved and Lynda Gibbs who spoke from the lecturn stating the historic value to the town and the importance of the building saying that Hinckley “had been cheated out of its history and the neglect shown this building. Both Ann and Lynda received applause. The presentations were then completed by Chris Kealey who again focused on the value of services and his own personal interest in the maternity provision locally.
Questions from the floor followed. David Wood, a local amateur historian, questioned why the NHS felt able to sell a building that was funded for and provided by the people of Hinckley. Toby Saunders answered by stating that the funding they received would not cover the update and restoration of the building as well as services to local people and that choices had to be made during times of reduced funding. A question was then asked from the floor by a retired engineer who suggested that an old building, usual had very sound structure ideally suited to change. Toby Saunders replied that the building was probably “too well built” as it would be costly to alter. Robert Montgomery, a local to Hinckley, and an NHS employee then asked to take the stand. He caused outrage from the floor when he called for Mount Road to be sold as the NHS is “not in the business of saving buildings”.
There were many other questions asked including that of a local disabled lady who told of a time when she had had to go to Leicester Royal for an appointment and, due to her disability, had been unable to get a bus or drive and it had cost her £76.00 to do so.
In the final statements the CCG confirmed that no decision has, as yet been taken and a consultation would be happening in the summer. Lynda Gibbs again called for the support of all local people and the saving of services and this site as a future for the people of Hinckley.