Co-Locate is not an environmentalist activist group and it is not in our remit to propose the co-location of the ‘New Velindre’ on environmental grounds; all readers of our work should be fully aware of our central and over-arching premise that co-location is the only safe future provision for cancer services. However, this blog adds to the many reasons why the building of a new cancer centre on the Northern Meadows site is wrong by considering the green issues arising in the run up to, and since the COP 26 climate crisis talks in Glasgow last month.
The British Medical Journal has devoted a whole issue to the issues of climate, environment and health1. The NHS in Wales has issued a document published on 22/11/2021 entitled ‘How NHS Wales is responding to the climate emergency’2. Velindre University Trust has contributed to the latter, and we select the following excerpts from Velindre’s series of ‘ambitions for the greenest hospital (sic) in Britain’ to discuss further below.
Colocate Velindre has consistently put the case for co-location of the New Velindre Cancer Centre on an acute hospital site. All the evidence from Cancer Centres elsewhere in the UK, including the rest of Wales, shows that colocated centres deliver safer, more joined-up care to cancer patients when they so desperately need it.
Ever since we launched the Colocate Velindre website, inbox and twitter feed, we’ve been contacted by people wishing to share their views and experiences. Sadly, whilst individuals have voiced their support for and agreement with Colocate Velindre, there is understandable anxiety around the potential for repercussions, including from New Velindre leadership. This has prevented people from going on the record.
Colocate Velindre is keen to hear from anyone with relevant views or experiences. The confidentiality of people who make contact is of the utmost importance. We appreciate that the situation is sensitive.
We will not post any information in any form that could potentially identify the source without their explicit consent.
We weren’t to know that only days later a Westminster report on the handling of COVID 19 would tell us that here too the Government’s approach ….was not challenged enough by ministers in any part of the UK, indicating a “degree of groupthink” https://www.bbc.com/news/health-58876089).
We contacted all Welsh Government Assembly Members earlier this year. We summarised our concerns about the plans for the new cancer centre, and the process being used. We’re posting information from the letter on this site.
Misrepresentation of Patient numbers transferred for urgent escalation of care unavailable at the current Velindre site:
The concern here is that the figures quoted by the Velindre NHS Trust are incorrect, misleading and falsely reassuring to the general public. More worrying is the intention to replicate this current model of care at the proposed New Velindre Cancer Centre on the Northern Meadows.
What do Velindre say?
In the document “Why not build a new Velindre Cancer Centre on another hospital site?”Velindre say:
“fewer than thirty patients a year on average need an unplanned emergency transfer.”
What are the actual numbers of transfers?
We submitted a Freedom of Information enquiry to WAST (Welsh Ambulance Service Trust) and they provided us with the raw data on ambulance transfers.
On average around 100 patients are transferred each year using the 999 Ambulance system. These are urgent transfers for escalation of care that is not available at Velindre Hospital.