The following statement was issued at the start of January by Six South West London Clinical Commissioning Groups – Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Sutton and Wandsworth.. They are the NHS decision makers for South West London:
“The six south west London CCGs are actively discussing the next steps for local health services following the withdrawal of Surrey Downs CCG from the BSBV programme. As we have made clear in the past, the BSBV business case is now invalid and the options put forward through the programme are no longer on the table for consultation. It follows that all six CCGs are in the process of dissolving the committees to which they had delegated decision-making on BSBV.
“However, the challenges outlined in the BSBV case for change remain. If we do not address these challenges, we know that local services will decline in quality and that we will not be able to meet the required quality and safety standards. We are discussing with each other and with our boards how we address these challenges and we hope to make a further announcement in February.”
The key phrase is “The challenges outlined in the BSBV case for change remain”. They are right in saying this. Too many people do go to A&E, who should instead be going to a pharmacist or their local GP. The reason they do is often because they can not get an appointment with their GP and they do not realise that visiting a pharmacist is even an option!
We are concerned that even though the BSBV business case is now invalid, the original solution proposed by the six CCGs of closing St Helier A&E and closing St Helier’s Maternity Ward still remain as favoured options, by the CCGs. We have to wait to see what they say.
An indication was given on 18 February when GPs and healthcare professionals from across South West London announced that the BSBV review that recommended the closure of key healthcare services at St Helier hospital has been scrapped.
A new strategy on how to deliver health services in our area will now be developed by local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) so that the best possible care can be delivered in the future.
We welcome that, in contrast with the failed BSBV review, healthcare services will be viewed in a holistic way and that the CCGs will be working closely with all health providers and local authorities to deliver high quality care services.
While t is good news that the BSBV review has been scrapped we still need to continue demonstrating our support for St Helier and make sure that essential health services remain accessible.
We want to see Sutton CCG working closely with St Helier Hospital, Sutton Council (Adult Social Services and Childrens Social Services) and the Royal Marsden (Community Health Visitors) to resolve the issues raised by the original BSBV plan, and not promoting the closure of the A and E Department at St Helier.