Bulwell councillor questions how people in deprived areas can fully be part of hospital survey

A Bulwell councillor questioned how people living in deprived areas will be encouraged to take part in a huge survey on plans to redevelop the Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) and City Hospital.
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The ‘Tomorrow’s NUH’ programme has been described as a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to redevelop Nottingham’s hospital services to address health inequalities and spark economic regeneration.

Nottingham University Hospitals Trust (NUH) was chosen as one of 40 major hospitals to be funded by the Government to make the changes.

The Government announced a delay to the plans earlier in May, meaning the work will not be complete by the end of 2030.

A councillor is worried that a major hospitals survey won't engage as much with areas like Bulwell. Photo: GoogleA councillor is worried that a major hospitals survey won't engage as much with areas like Bulwell. Photo: Google
A councillor is worried that a major hospitals survey won't engage as much with areas like Bulwell. Photo: Google

It has now been confirmed a public consultation on the plans will take place before March 2024, as planning for the huge project continues.

This includes a new women’s and children’s facility at the QMC which would be the first integrated centre of its kind in the East Midlands.

Most planned operations, such as hip replacements, would be delivered at the City Hospital, with some emergency care moving to the QMC.

Cancer treatment would continue to be delivered across both sites.

NHS bosses from the Nottinghamshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) discussed the plans with Nottingham Council’s health scrutiny committee on October 12.

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But Coun Maria Joannou (Lab), who represents Bulwell, questioned how the ICB will ensure a diverse range of voices is heard through the public consultation.

She said: “Bulwell is a deprived area and people generally in more deprived areas don’t tend to engage with consultations.

“Yet they tend to use the service even more because they have more health outcomes.

“What is it exactly that you propose you do to engage people in Bulwell?

“Often they haven’t got very much confidence in being part of the process.”

Alex Ball, director of communications and engagement at the ICB, said: “We know the diversity of the population is large, particularly in the city.

“We would go to where people are rather than expect them to come to us, be that in the supermarket, school gates, or where they take their leisure.

“We can’t expect people with busy and challenged lives to come to us.

“That’s my mantra on things.

“Of course in Bulwell, we should be on the marketplace and undoubtedly you will see us there.

“I want to work with people like you and other community leaders to help us identify the right places.”

The ICB says that overall, the responses have shown ‘broad support’ for the plans with 78 per cent of respondents saying they were strongly or somewhat supportive of the plans.

The council report states the public consultation should conclude before the start of the pre-election period for the devolved authority mayoral elections in late March 2024.

The committee approved the principle of proceeding to a public consultation on the plans.

The ICB said it hopes to return to the committee in December to provide an update.

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