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News and Comment December 2012

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13 December (Part 1) - Time is running out

NHS ConsultationToday is the last day on which to respond to the consultation process for the South London Healthcare Trust, now in administration. Greenwich and Lewisham have seen protestors on the street in their thousands, in Bexley very few. The same sort of apathy that allows corruption to exist in its public bodies. However at least Bexley council has put its cards on the table so far as the hospital situation is concerned. Greenwich and Lewisham seem to have been more than a little reticent.

• Setting aside the working title of 'Health Campus' and retaining 'Queen Mary's Hospital' as the preferred name of the site.
•Strong support for the commitment to provide a range of healthcare services at Queen Mary's Hospital, bringing to an end uncertainty about its future.
•A welcome for the retention of the Urgent Care Centre at QMS, subject to a commitment to quality and raising the role and profile of the service.
•Concern about the loss of in-patient elective surgery at QMS and the additional travelling this will mean for residents using the elective centre at Lewisham.
•A call for urgent action to improve public transport links to Darent Valley Hospital.
•A call for income from any land sales at QMS to be reinvested into local community-based services and for any future sales of land or buildings on the site to be subject to the agreement of the local Health & Wellbeing Board.
•Support for a community-based care strategy, supported by much-needed new investment in local services, that could help reduce the number of elderly patients needing hospital beds.
•Concern over the likely impact of the closure of the A&E and maternity units at Lewisham on patients using neighbouring hospitals.

It does at least suggest that someone has given the subject some thought and I heartily approve of the call to get rid of the title ‘Health Campus’. At the very least it represents a psychological downgrade from being known as a hospital easing the way for further cuts.

Greenwich council’s ‘protest’ was confined to the closure of Lewisham’s eight month old A&E facility referring to…

• The existing levels of demand.
• The growth of the population in recent years.
• The projected growth in years to come.
• The lack of facilities in Bexley.
• The lack of clarity as to how CCG commissioners can be made to create these facilities.
•The lack of clarity as to how CCG commissioners and their patients can be forced to use the elective care facilities at Lewisham.

Somebody must have spent at least ten minutes working on that highly technical response, but it was better than what Lewisham council managed…

• The council will be submitting a response to the consultation.

To add your own views go to before midnight.

CCG: Clinical Commissioning Groups.


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