I am concerned that due to some of the statements made on the Whalton Unit, residents may have received the incorrect impression that the NHS is considering closing this unit.
This is not the case, although the location of the unit is part of a proposed review.
I am against any loss of beds and facilities, and any change that would result in a reduction of provision would not be supported by me.
I fully support the efforts of the NHS to retain the Whalton Unit as a cohesive unit, providing care to local people.
However, I recognise that this is a clinical and operational decision by the NHS and that Northumberland County Council is not a decision making body in this case. I call upon the NHS to ensure that the welfare and care of patients is at the heart of any decision made.
I appreciate the zeal of the Whalton campaign, and in an ideal world the unit should remain in Morpeth. However, the campaign must be careful that it is not seen as parochial in that the location of beds is only one of many factors to be considered and may not be the most central, which should always remain the quality of care and clinical needs of patients.
Also concerning are statements that could be seen to denigrate the integrity or commitment of NHS staff and that staff may feel pressured into taking into account non-clinical issues or the standards of care that can be provided when making final decisions, or face the risk of being publicly pilloried.
A reminder may be required that all sides are acting in good faith and that some of the more emotive statements can be counter-productive.
Cool heads and a dispassionate decision on what is best for the patients, staff and the community is what is needed.
Coun David Bawn
Morpeth North Member