In response to an enquiry from Shabana Mahmood MP, who asked for clarification over the future of the Birmingham & Midland Eye Centre (BMEC), Toby Lewis, the Chief Executive of the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, has explained the current stage of the decision process.
Mr Lewis stated:
“The Trust values the regional eye hospital we operate. […] It contains an inpatient ward, which overnight is typically not especially full. This creates situations where we are staffing a ward above what is clinically needed in order to avoid lone worker situations for our staff. We are exploring options, through consultation, to change this.
“The primary alternate option relocates the ward into a conjoined building but by putting it within another ward removes the lone worker issue.”
Mr Lewis made reassurances that with all the proposals: “eye patients will still be looked after by specialist eye nurses.”
However, these comments also come after the nursing staff at the BMEC raised concerns about the emotional stress caused to staff by the uncertainty over the future of jobs and the wellbeing of patients.
A decision over the future of the BMEC is expected to be made in the next week.
“The BMEC is the second biggest eye hospital in the UK, and is renowned for the specialist treatment it provides to patients whom travel from across the country to access the services
“I recognise the Trust is committed to continuing the running of this outstanding service, whilst also making savings.
“It is crucial, therefore, that the changes put forward by the Trust are transparent and engage with the concerns raised by staff members over patient safety and wellbeing.”