Ministers must take responsibility for their failures to ensure hospital beds keep up with population changes

Because Addenbrooke’s Hospital has been under growing pressure in the face of a rapidly-increasing population. And successive Health Secretaries have failed to provide the necessary resources.

And we found out the hard way the consequences of this the hard way when the CV19 Pandemic hit in early 2020. In case you missed the news, the Public Inquiry is up and running.

Have a look at the details and terms of reference at

And if you want to check the latest data, see

Addenbrooke’s in a permanent state of crisis? The data tells a story

I got an inside view of the challenge Addenbrooke’s has had – and Royal Papworth old and new as well. Once in 2017, and once in 2021 as a cardiac inpatient at both.

Because in late 2021 I was asking questions about when the last time the A&E unit had been expanded.

Earlier this evening, BBC Journalist Mark Williamson of BBC Cambs came up with the answer in the context of yesterday’s Census 2021 publication.

“While the population of ‘Greater Cambridge’ alone has grown by 69k since 2001 – over the same period the number of beds at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge has remained roughly the same.”

Mark Williamson of BBC Cambridgeshire, 29 June 2022

Mr Williamson made the above point in a powerful thread on the huge population increase recorded by the Census 2021.

As Mr Williamson says, Addenbrooke’s catchment goes far beyond Greater Cambridge – it is one of our regional hospitals – and also a centre of excellence in a number of treatments which means patients nationwide can be treated here if very ill. Which is something I welcome very much. If Cambridge is going to have a world class hospital in its municipal boundaries, that means having world class staff serving it drawn from all over the world, and having the responsibility of treating people from beyond the local catchment area too. That’s what comes with the right of having such a hospital in my childhood neighbourhood.

Transport infrastructure becomes even more important

It was one of the reasons I stood (unsuccessfully) for election for one of the patient governor vacancies.

Above – my candidacy video

I’m pondering re-standing again next – but in order to do so, more people willing to back my candidacy who have been treated at Addenbrooke’s at some stage in their lives will need to register for free as Foundation Trust members – see I don’t make the election rules. I simply have to abide by them. Think the rules could be improved? Write to your MP via with your thoughts – and ask them to be put to the Secretary of State for Health for a response. In other news, I got this email from the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Foundation Trust.

“I can now confirm that the 2022 CPFT Governor Elections process is complete and you are now confirmed as elected Governors of the Trust, with your 3-year term starting immediately following tomorrow evening’s Council of Governors meeting – congratulations!”

CPFT to me, 29 June 2022

The CPFT provides the following services in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough :

  • Adult mental health
  • Forensic and specialist mental health
  • Older people’s mental health
  • Children’s mental health
  • Children’s community
  • Older people and adult community
  • Specialist learning disability
  • Primary care and liaison psychiatry
  • Substance misuse
  • Social care
  • Research and development

Given the crisis in mental health provision, anyone who has even a passing interest in mental health care provision, and the prevention of mental ill-health who lives within the catchment area (Cambs & Peterboro’) is welcome to register as a member for free. One of things I’d like to see is more awareness-raising of roles such as these in regular publications, whether community news letters to local social media pages.

I see such memberships as being the first footsteps into civic society and the civic life of our city. It demonstrates a willingness of becoming aware of what’s happening within the wider city, and also taking responsibility for it. It doesn’t mean diving in at the deep end and spending huge amounts of time number-crunching. Given my own experiences of volunteering and burning out, my recommendation to people is to pick one area of interest and focus on that – encouraging others to do similar. That way between our collective social networks and friendship groups, our city can have enough ‘bases covered’ that we can stand up to be counted when a crisis hits. Irrespective of party political views, I’d like to think that the grassroots collective responses demonstrated we are capable perhaps of more than what we thought we could achieve.

This crisis requires a co-ordinated, collective response from all of us in Cambridge, South Cambridgeshire, East Cambridgeshire, and the surrounding districts within the Addenbrooke’s catchment. What is it to be?

Because we cannot leave it to Addenbrooke’s alone. The hospital chiefs have told us they have a housing crisis. Yet they have no competency/powers over housing policy.

Above – by Gemma Gardner of the Cambridge Independent on 11 May 2022

If you know someone who doesn’t normally get involved in ‘politics’ or local democracy, is this the issue that will incentivise them to take that first step to contact their local Member of Parliament to ask what actions health ministers will take following the findings from the Census?

People often say that “someone should do something about it”

What if that someone is you?

Food for thought?

If you are interested in the longer term future of Cambridge, and on what happens at the local democracy meetings where decisions are made, feel free to:

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