I was pleased to convene a meeting of Fareham Community Hospital Taskforce this month. I set up this forum in 2016 to facilitate better usage of this valuable community asset and I am pleased with how constructively local health managers, clinicians and volunteers have worked together. I was proud to hear of the success of the local vaccine roll out at FCH, which at the time of writing stands at 35,871 vaccinations. Similarly, it was great to hear of the encouraging work being done to improve support for veteran’s mental health, via FCH's local programme. Thank you to all those involved in this remarkable contribution to our community.
However, following probing discussions I was concerned to learn of some pressing issues affecting Fareham Community Hospital; namely chronic under usage of the facility by organisations funded by the Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group. At the meeting it was learned that some organisations have been booking facilities without showing up, or simply booking the wrong facilities. For example, last Wednesday five rooms were booked by Portsmouth Hospitals with nobody turning up for any of the rooms.
Somewhat alarmingly, this was not an isolated incident but is in fact common practice, with footfall at the Fareham Community Hospital continuing to peak at 40%. This has remained at the same level since the facility opened 10 years ago. I was also extremely troubled to learn that the Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust and the Solent NHS Trust have largely been responsible for this. This has equated to thousands in wasted taxpayers’ money, which as a Member of Parliament I feel obligated to shed a light upon. Rest assured I have begun important discussions with the CCG to get this problem fixed and I am advocating for a robust mitigation strategy.
Commenting Suella Braverman Said:
“Increasing usage at Fareham Community Hospital has been a personal commitment of mine ever since I took office in 2015. That is why I was concerned to to hear of persistent inaction and wastage at the facility.
It is incredibly alarming that footfall continues to peak at a meagre 40%. I simply cannot remain silent on this issue, when we are faced with the reality of thousands of pounds of taxpayer’s money being flushed away by organisations that are failing to follow through on their commitments. It is clear urgent changes are long overdue and I will be strongly advocating for a robust mitigation strategy from the CCG”
Commenting Cllr Trevor Cartwright MBE, Deputy Executive Leader & Executive Member for Health & Public Protection at Fareham Borough Council Said:
“I would totally agree with Suella’s comments. I have been constantly demanding action on the occupancy of the hospital which when it opened was 40% and ten years later it is still the same which is a total waste of the facility. It is even more alarming that 100% of no shows were by the two trusts.
The residents of Fareham deserve better.”
Commenting David Bailey, Deputy Managing Director, South East Hampshire (Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group) Said:
“We know that more services are using the hospital which is great news and, as demand for space at the site increases, everyone is in agreement that we need to maximise the use of that space to best support patients locally. We want to reiterate our commitment to making this happen.
Over the past few months, the hospital has been used successfully as a COVID-19 vaccination site, creating a vital service at the heart of our community.
A mental health service for veterans is now hosting a weekly session and discussions are continuing about the possibility of bringing further services to the hospital over the next few months.”