Statement from Bob Seely on Island NHS Trust report

"I welcome this report.  We need to be able to offer Islanders the very best quality healthcare, and we need to support NHS staff in delivering that healthcare.  Overall, I want as much health treatment, delivered safely and to the highest standards on the Island, as possible.  I give Islanders my word that I will defend services and fight for the best deal for the Islanders.

"I thank Maggie Oldham, Steve Parker and their colleagues for the work that they have done and are doing, and for the detailed report that they have produced.

"I also want to thank the Island's NHS doctors, nurses and staff for the life-saving and life-enhancing work that they do.

"I accept the need to transfer a small number of specialist activities to the mainland, but welcome the ambition to have fewer patient trips overall across the Solent.  Nearly 90 percent of current activity will be retained under the favoured option, Option Four.

"I am concerned that Option Four has previously included an approximate figure for bed losses at St Mary's.  I will be seeking reassurance on this, and I will be talking with the Trust further about some of the other implications of Option Four. 

"I do accept that Option Three, which would see slightly fewer transfers to the mainland and 3,000 fewer journeys by patients, may not be currently acceptable in delivering clinical excellence.  However, I will be further discussing the implications of both the preferred Option Four and Option Three and I would welcome some flexibility on this issue.

"My priorities are for patients to have fewer journeys to the mainland overall, and to get more treatment on the Island, even if for slightly more surgical treatments and cases of specialist care we have to go to the mainland.  I want patients to have the best possible experience and the best possible care.

 "We need to take the opportunity to return some services from the mainland to the Island, and we need wherever possible to use new technology and practises such as telemedicine to improve patient experience and care.

"I also want to see the Island as a centre of excellence in niche services, such as dementia care.

"It is vital for the Island to work collaboratively with mainland Trusts to ensure that our standards are second to none, to support and enhance the work done on the Island.  Without this, we will not succeed in the ambitions outlined in the report.  This element seems to me to be critical to our future success.

"I will continue to work with the Island's NHS team to make sure that the Department of Health understands the unique challenges of providing world-class healthcare on the Island.  I will be discussing this report with the Secretary of State for Health."