Residents anger over plans to close vital hospital services

Wimbledon Guardian: Residents anger over plans to close vital St Helier services Residents anger over plans to close vital St Helier services

Hundreds of residents have expressed anger over plans to close vital services at St Helier hospital.

Residents packed Morden's civic centre on Thursday for a public meeting led by Siobhain McDonagh, MP for Mitcham and Morden, after an independent panel recommended St Helier's accident and emergency and maternity unit should close as part of NHS south west London’s Better Service Better Value Review (BSBV).

One man stood up and said: "My wife needed to be taken to Kingston Hospital A&E.

"They could just about cope then with the number of patients.

"How are they going to cope with another 33 per cent of patients [from St Helier] when they can only just about cope today?"

Another man, who said he works in mental health, said: "I’m worried about facilities for people who need urgent, swift psychiatric treatment.

"They will be sent further away and have to wait longer for services.

"I think it’s a real injustice if you close down that A&E"

At the meeting, the methods used by panellists to arrive at their recommendation were criticised by Dr Philip Howard, who called it an "exceptionally speculative exercise" said no account was given to previous experience within the NHS.

He said: "That panel met to decide the options and they were instructed not to decide on the basis of what we have done.

"They were not asked to consider our record. They were asked and expected to operate in an evidence free environment - to be given some options and to speculate on what would happen given those options in 2016/17."

However Dr Howard Freeman, a panel member and Rayne’s Park GP defended the process and his belief that closing services is the right decision.

He said: "We need to make sure that we have the correct 24 hour, 7 days a week consultant cover at all of our A+E’s - we don’t have enough A+E consultants.

"Even if there were enough we don’t have the funding, so we have to work with the numbers we have and make sure that within that we can provide the correct consultant cover."

He added: "It’s very difficult to say that [the scoring day] wasn’t robust in the sense that the outcome between the other options was so great, that it gives you the confidence to enable you to move forward.

"The fact the option of no change was discounted starts to say that you have to make change.

"I’m in no doubt that we have to make changes to clinical services to ensure that they are safer for the public, more effective and viable for the long terms so I’m quite comfortable with the outcome."

The option to close services at St Helier Hospital and replace them with a surgery centre was favoured by panellists with a score of 205, 76 points ahead of both Kingston and Croydon.

Last week The Consultation Institute, an expert body that advises on best practise in public consultation and engagement, approved the BSBV panel event.

On July 26, the NHS south West London board will meet to finalise the recommendation ahead of a public consultation which is expected to start in September.

Comments (6)

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2:06pm Sat 30 Jun 12

tjames says...

What happened to the Darzi Clinics?
What happened to the Darzi Clinics? tjames

2:37pm Sat 30 Jun 12

Michael Pantlin says...

Question for SW London Board - what is the purpose of the future public consultation when the outcome to shut major bits of St. Helier Hospital seems to have been planned for the outset? The public have already voiced their opposition at meetings, in written messages and in the petitions so which bit of the public don't like it and don't want it don't you and your paymasters get? Meanwhile the silence from the local Photo Opportunity MP is embarrassing leading some to feel he is part of the problem rather than the solution.
Question for SW London Board - what is the purpose of the future public consultation when the outcome to shut major bits of St. Helier Hospital seems to have been planned for the outset? The public have already voiced their opposition at meetings, in written messages and in the petitions so which bit of the public don't like it and don't want it don't you and your paymasters get? Meanwhile the silence from the local Photo Opportunity MP is embarrassing leading some to feel he is part of the problem rather than the solution. Michael Pantlin

2:56pm Sat 30 Jun 12

Michael Pantlin says...

We already have a surgery department at St. Helier Hospital so BSBV are trying to sell us something we have in exchange for closing the parts we want. Don't let them pull the wool over your eyes - this is the bad side of Yarnbombing.
We already have a surgery department at St. Helier Hospital so BSBV are trying to sell us something we have in exchange for closing the parts we want. Don't let them pull the wool over your eyes - this is the bad side of Yarnbombing. Michael Pantlin

10:46pm Sat 30 Jun 12

Danny Bhoy says...

The planned surgery centre as I understand it would be the surgery centre for the whole of south west London. Most of us are more likely to use that than A&E or maternity. Unless we are among those frequent flyers clogging up A&E, in which case we are part of the problem. A&E is meant to be for life threatening cases only, your other needs should be treated somewhere else. All this follows the logic of the Darzi reforms, which have generated an incredible turn around in the numbers of lives saved when people had strokes or serious accidents. Hospitals need to centralise services more, we have too many hospitals in Greater London and that is why services are below average in so many areas, the best docs are spread too thin.
The planned surgery centre as I understand it would be the surgery centre for the whole of south west London. Most of us are more likely to use that than A&E or maternity. Unless we are among those frequent flyers clogging up A&E, in which case we are part of the problem. A&E is meant to be for life threatening cases only, your other needs should be treated somewhere else. All this follows the logic of the Darzi reforms, which have generated an incredible turn around in the numbers of lives saved when people had strokes or serious accidents. Hospitals need to centralise services more, we have too many hospitals in Greater London and that is why services are below average in so many areas, the best docs are spread too thin. Danny Bhoy

7:38pm Mon 2 Jul 12

Michael Pantlin says...

So a Raynes Park doctor is "comfortable" about the exercise to close large parts of St. Helier Hospital, Carshalton and the SW London NHS which runs St. George's Hospital thinks St. George's should be protected from the cuts. Will the local population be happy when they lock the doors of the closed departments? Your children or your children's children may one day ask why do we have to struggle so far to get to childrens services Mummy/Daddy and many will be able to say because I sat on my arris and did nothing about it when the abominable proposals were landed on us from unknown bodies with strange sounding names. Were BSBV and the point scorers financially rewarded for their efforts on top of their day job pay or did they do this voluntarily as part of the Big Society? As for the points scoring, what do points make in today's NHS? That's right, points make cuts and closures.
So a Raynes Park doctor is "comfortable" about the exercise to close large parts of St. Helier Hospital, Carshalton and the SW London NHS which runs St. George's Hospital thinks St. George's should be protected from the cuts. Will the local population be happy when they lock the doors of the closed departments? Your children or your children's children may one day ask why do we have to struggle so far to get to childrens services Mummy/Daddy and many will be able to say because I sat on my arris and did nothing about it when the abominable proposals were landed on us from unknown bodies with strange sounding names. Were BSBV and the point scorers financially rewarded for their efforts on top of their day job pay or did they do this voluntarily as part of the Big Society? As for the points scoring, what do points make in today's NHS? That's right, points make cuts and closures. Michael Pantlin

9:15pm Tue 3 Jul 12

Danny Bhoy says...

St George's runs itself, it is not run by the local NHS Cluster, which is due to disappear anyway in 2013. Plus it's role as a major trauma and stroke centre has already been consulted on, so it couldn't lose it's it's A&E. But some see conspiracy theories everywhere.
St George's runs itself, it is not run by the local NHS Cluster, which is due to disappear anyway in 2013. Plus it's role as a major trauma and stroke centre has already been consulted on, so it couldn't lose it's it's A&E. But some see conspiracy theories everywhere. Danny Bhoy

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