Fears Good Hope hospital won't cope if thousands more homes built
14th December 2012
Sutton Coldfield Observer
Good Hope Hospital situated on Rectory Road, Sutton Coldfield, already covers a catchment population of around 450,000, and sees more than 76,000 accident and emergency attendances per year including people from Tamworth and Lichfield.
With Birmingham City Council's plans to build 5,000 to 10,000 homes on the town's green belt land, the hospital may battle to provide healthcare to more residents.
But Good Hope is not phased by the proposed development.
"As an acute NHS hospital, it is our responsibility to provide high-quality healthcare that's free and for everyone," a Good Hope Hospital spokesperson said. "We work hard to make sure that all of our patients are seen and treated as quickly as possible.
"At the moment, we can confirm we have not engaged with Birmingham City Council around the new homes proposal as this is very much at the initial planning stages and no decision has yet been made as to whether the building work will actually go ahead."
However, local GP, Sally Vaughan of Blaydon Avenue, Four Oaks, worries Sutton's health services are "already stretched and working to the very extreme of capacity".
She explained: "Given that Sutton Coldfield currently has a population of 105,000, increasing the number of households by 10,000 could boost the local population by about 25 per cent – the infrastructure could not support this. Imagine the emergency department and maternity wards at Good Hope with a further 10,000 households to care for.
"The hospital provides an excellent service to the residents of Sutton Coldfield, and we are lucky to have it on our doorstep.
"However, they are very busy, and I believe it is running close to capacity.
"In its current state, I cannot envisage how it could meet the healthcare needs of another 25,000 residents."
Councillor Phillip Parkin of Trinity Ward agrees.
He said: "What concerns me is we could be talking about a potential new town, and I cannot see how Good Hope will deal with this.
"We already have a big problem with hospital parking so how will it cope with the number of visitors?
"The council does not have the answers to all our questions, and because of that, people are very concerned about the impact that the development would have on the infrastructure.
"It will be a disaster if the council does not address all of the issues, not only the hospital but schools and roads too."
Birmingham City Council has assured residents it will be looking into all aspects of infrastructure before building.
Just four weeks remain for residents to have their say on the Birmingham Plan 2031.
The consultation period ends on Monday, January 14, 2013.
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