PRESS RELEASE: Thursday, 15 January 2015


As the proposed acquisition of the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD) – or ‘The Min,’ by the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust (RUH) moves closer, NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Chairman, Dr Stephen Rowlands, comments:

“As one of the commissioners of RNHRD’s services, we are pleased that the acquisition is progressing as planned; there will be benefits to patients as well as to both hospitals.”

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group commissions the healthcare services for almost half a million people within Wiltshire. This includes general and specialist hospital services in Bath, Salisbury and Swindon as well as a wide range of further hospital and community health related services throughout the county.

Dr Rowlands, continued, “The proposed acquisition will ensure continuity of the highly regarded specialist services which RNHRD provides. The RNHRD is renowned internationally for its rheumatology, pain and fatigue services. We are fully reassured that, moving forward, patient care will not only be maintained but enhanced, too.”

Wiltshire CCG will continue to work with RNHRD, RUH and neighbouring CCGs as the acquisition progresses, and is confident that there will be no disruption of service to patients.

The Board and Governors of both the RNHRD and RUH have formally approved the proposal. Subject to the approval of Monitor (the sector regulator for Health Services), the acquisition could take place early in 2015.


Further information:

Sarah Tranter or Lynsey Thorp, Communications, NHS Wiltshire CCG.
T. 01380 736010

Notes for Editors:

  • NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is the commissioner of health care services for the population of Wiltshire. The CCG is led by local GPs who have first-hand experience of what their patients need.
  • The CCG consists of 58 GP member practices and works closely with local partners including Wiltshire Council, local NHS providers, patients and the public to manage existing NHS services and implement new services to ensure that high quality health and social care is delivered to the population as close to their home as possible. Further information can be found on the website
  • The RNHRD NHS FT is a national specialist rehabilitation and rheumatology hospital based in Bath. Offering services to adults, children and young people, the trust has expertise in general and complex:
    • Rheumatological conditions
    • Chronic pain management including Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
    • Fatigue Management (CFS/ME and cancer survivorship fatigue)
    • The RNHRD has an excellent reputation for research both nationally and internationally. Research informs their treatment programmes and contributes to a better understanding of many of the conditions in which they specialise
  • More information can be found online at and

Press Release from RUH and The Min

Happy New Year to one and all

Steve-Rowlands-2014_WEBAnd what an interesting one we have to look forward to; with a forthcoming election and the NHS already being used as a political football.

As we will all be aware, the NHS has seen unprecedented levels of activity with Accident and Emergency departments across the country working beyond their capacity, ambulance services stretched beyond belief and primary care creaking at the front door.

And why is this happening? Well…

Between Christmas and the New Year, I took the family to a local cinema and followed it up with a pizza. As I was getting stuck into my Firenzi, I was interrupted by the noise of a siren and blue flashing lights pulling up at the front door of the restaurant.

A paramedic jumped out the ambulance, rushed into the restaurant and was directed over to a lady sitting at a table behind us eating her meal and who seemed to be perfectly happy. She was escorted into the back of the ambulance and 30 minutes later came back in to finish off her meal eventually leaving the building laughing and joking with her partner.

I was astonished at this. Not only would this have incurred a cost of at least £276, it tied up two highly-skilled professionals for probably the best part of an hour, during one of the busiest times of the year.

My kids could not believe what they had just witnessed and were even more astounded when we got home that night and put the TV on to be greeted with a news report on how stretched the ambulance service in the South West is and how they were not managing to respond to urgent calls.

Was this event a symptom of why the whole system is in overload?

I suspect the answer is yes, but no, but…

On chatting to colleagues in our three District General Hospitals there have clearly been a lot of very sick elderly people seen and admitted over the last three weeks. However the A&E departments were also overloaded by people who could and should have been treated elsewhere.

If, as a nation, we want to maintain an NHS that is free at the point of delivery, we have to treat it with the respect that it deserves and not waste people’s valuable time and expertise.

I wonder if this particular lady would have been as eager to call for an ambulance if she subsequently received a bill for £276…