I am writing in response to recent letters about the closure of Mount Vernon hospital. In particular, I wanted to comment on the suggestion that “quality of care now is not as good as that provided at Mount Vernon.”
Some of our former staff now work in a new transition unit at Barnsley Hospital for patients who are not quite well enough to return to their community. Our staff also provide a therapy-led service for people in care homes and their own homes. Other Mount Vernon services transferred to Kendray hospital which we have absolutely no plans to close.
This means Barnsley people are still receiving high-quality care from the same group of dedicated staff whose care was officially rated ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission.
Mount Vernon has a long, proud history in Barnsley and, quite rightly, a place in people’s hearts. I understand why there is such strength of feeling about this building. Yet the NHS and social care system are under intense pressure and the way we provide care and use buildings must evolve. We’ve offered to meet with Barnsley Save Our NHS to have an open conversation and address the concerns we are able to.
As we continue to join up with our partners to provide seamless care for local people, I wanted to offer concrete reassurance that our incredible staff do – and will always – provide quality care. I’m proud of what our staff do every single day, and know Barnsley people will feel the same.
The NHS is celebrating its 70th year and reflecting on how much has changed and how we must continue to change. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate staff which is why we launched a new scheme this week. To thank a member of staff who works in any of South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s services, including those who were at Mount Vernon, please visit https://www.southwestyorkshire.nhs.uk/work-for-us/nhs-superstars/ We have 1557 members of staff across the Barnsley borough and I’d love to hear who your superstar is.
So whilst debate around the use of NHS buildings is complex and often contentious, let’s always remember that the NHS is not made of buildings. It is made of people. People whose compassion and dedication has been caring for Barnsley for decades gone by and for decades to come.
South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust