01:00PM, Sunday 09 July 2017
A reduction in the number of public governors representing Slough at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust could lead to poorer standards of care.
That is the view of two outgoing governors whose seats will lapse later this year as the number of governors is reduced from five to two.
A spokesman for Frimley Health NHS Trust said: “The recent decision to reduce the total number from 37 to 27 brings us in line with representation at most other NHS foundation trusts (both in terms of foundation trust members represented by each governor and the local population size).
“The council of governors and the board fully backed the proposal after careful consideration of the pros and cons.
“We believe this will make the council of governors more effective and efficient, both collectively and individually.”
However, governor Tamoor Ali, who will lose his seat, said: “We weren’t given enough time to scrutinise the plans and some of the tables used in the appendix of the report weren’t even referenced so we could interrogate the report.”
Sharon O’Reilly, who will also lose her seat, said: “They have made a decision based on the number of patients registered with GPs but that doesn’t account for the people that aren’t that just turn up at hospital.
“When you look at some of the other trusts, the number of constituencies they represent are much less.”
Mr Ali added: “The other constituencies in the trust apart from Rushmoor are within the top 40 least deprived areas in the country, Slough is one of the most deprived.
“Plus Slough is more diverse.”
Frimley Health NHS Trust is responsible for Wexham Park Hospital in Slough, Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot and Frimley Park Hospital, close to Camberley.
At the meeting in March, the areas of Rushmoor and Slough were deemed similar enough to be reduced to the same number of governors despite Rushmoor having 58,000 fewer patients registered with a GP.
A working group of nine people decided on the plans before putting the decision to a vote.
The proposal was approved by a majority vote of 17 to seven, with three abstentions.
Mr Ali said the method should be based on levels of deprivation rather than population size as deprived areas are likely to have problems with their care and access to services.
He added: “I hope the trust base their sustainability and transformation partnerships blueprint on the most deprived constituencies taking into account the wider determinants of health, the key being engaging with communities who currently have no voice.”
Ms O’Reilly said: “In Slough people would say we’ve been done up like kippers.”
A meeting of the governors on March 29 released figures which said there were 153,580 patients registered with a GP in Slough in 2015/16. The figures on the NHS website had this number at 155,928 in October 2016.
As of June this year, the figure stood at 159,053. The trust was asked to clarify the data.
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