paul at St Helier

The BBC London news has reported tonight that, despite our efforts to date and the many flaws and criticisms of their proposals, the local NHS Better Services, Better Value (BSBV) team has decided to press ahead with recommending the closure of both St Helier and Epsom’s A&E and maternity units. 
This is an appalling decision that flies in the face of the facts. It is not the end of the matter. It is still not too late to stop these ill-conceived plans.
Next Wednesday (9th May) Sutton’s Clinicial Commissioning Group (CCG) will meet to consider whether it wants to consult on BSBVs proposals.  The meeting will start at 1pm at St Bedes Conference Centre, St Raphael’s Hospice, London Road, North Cheam.  This is not a public meeting, though it is a meeting held in public.  There will be a large number of residents attending the meeting to make a silent protest against BSBVs plans and send a powerful message to the GPs and other clinicians who sit on the CCG board. 
We are, with local MPs Paul Burstow and Tom Brake, urging as many other people as possible to write to their local GP to support St Helier. 
Despite St Helier being the best performing hospital in SW London, today’s quality has been discounted by BSBV in favour of a hope that the quality of the rest will improve in the future.  You can compare the performance of our local hospitals by following this link:
BSBV assumes that as many as six out of ten people who use A&E do not need to be there.  Even if that were true, and it is not, there are no credible costed plans to deliver the expansion in community health and GP services necessary to reverse the rising demand for A&E.
BSBV claim that their proposals are necessary to improve patient safety.  They want to have more consultants on hand, which is a good idea.  But rather than taking the steps necessary to recruit them, they want to embark on a £350 million building programme to expand the remaining hospitals.  They do not have any guarantees that this money will be available from the Treasury and no idea what they will do if it is not provided.
Rather than looking for the simplest, lowest cost way of delivering improved patient safety they are set on a disruptive, highly complex and risky enterprise.
Please write to your GP and urge them to lobby the CCG to drop the plans and opt for a less expensive and less risky alternative.  Ask them to join with you and other residents in supporting our local A&E and maternity units.

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