‘AN absolute disaster’ were the words of Uttoxeter’s mayor after a vital service supporting people with heart problems in their own home was cut.
Hugh Montgomery, who is still recovering from a triple heart bypass, spoke out after The East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) revealed the Cardiac Rehabilitation Programme will no longer be provided by the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust after they did not accept the new contract.
The service will now be provided by Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust but this will mean residents will have to travel to Burton for support as the new programme will not provide the home visits.
The CCG’s accountable officer Tony Bruce told the meeting of the governing body that after the contract expired with the partnership trust they were offered one in line with nationally accepted standards.
However, after first indicating they would be continuing the service, the trust withdrew the service from April 1 - only three weeks beforehand.
Councillor Montgomery said: “It is an absolute disaster. The fact that we had a cardiac rehabilitation centre here in Balance Street and that is not longer operational as well.
“I have to do cardiac rehab twice a week and I go to Burton for that. If you are in the early stages where you cannot drive then someone has to take you in as you can’t get the bus.
“It is absolutely dreadful and appalling. It will hinder people’s recovery.
“We are trying our best to see if there are any other possibilities but we don’t know at the moment. My wife has to drive me to Burton as I cannot drive yet and this can have a profound effect on cardiac rehabilitation.”
Mr Bruce told the meeting the service helped around 25 people in and around Uttoxeter each year and the CCG was still committed to providing the service – just from a Burton base.
He added five patients were using the service before it ended on Monday and they have been offered to continue with Burton, visit a town gym or complete the exercises on their own.
Stuart Poynor, chief executive of Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust, said: “We were very disappointed to receive notice from East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) on some of the community services we provide in November 2012. These included cardiac rehabilitation.
“Our focus is to support people to stay well, remain independent and provide the best care and services possible and we have been working with the CCG to support their review of the care of older people and those with long term conditions in response to their commissioning intentions for 2014/15.
“We were invited to bid for the cardiac rehabilitation service but were unable to provide the service in the cost envelope given by the CCG.
“We are committed to being involved in any redesign of services and see this as key to how our integrated health and social care teams work in the community.”