Nick responds to consultation on future of SLHT
MP for Greenwich & Woolwich, Nick Raynsford, has today submitted his views as part of the public consultation on the future of the South London Healthcare Trust (SLHT). Nick was responding following the publication of a draft report, by Matthew Kershaw, the Trust Special Advisor (TSA) who is tasked with setting out proposals for the future of the Trust.
Mr Kershaw’s main recommendations include breaking up SLHT, merging Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) with Lewisham Hospital as part of a new Trust, and subsequently the closure of the A&E unit and maternity services at Lewisham.
Nick has vowed to object strongly to the scrapping of an A&E unit at Lewisham, as well as any other closures which might affect patient care. Writing to the TSA today, Nick added, “The A&E at QEH is already running close to capacity, and reducing A&E services in South East London could seriously compromise patient safety and impose excessive pressures on QEH. Similar considerations apply to maternity services”.
Responding in the public consultation, Nick has also raised the following concerns:
· - The proposed ‘pathology hub’ at the QEH which had been part of the SLHT future plans is now uncertain;
· - Community services are run on a different basis in Lewisham and Greenwich. Lewisham Trust runs services in Lewisham, while Oxleas runs Community Services in Greenwich and Bexley. This division may prove unsatisfactory;
· - The viability of the proposed arrangements at Queen Mary’s Sidcup is questionable, nor is it clear why the Dartford/Gravesham Trust has been invited to run the elective work at QMS.
Nick has expressed concerns that the scale of the efficiency savings proposed and potential job losses is very challenging and could undermine the safety and effectiveness of services. Furthermore, the achievement of the plan depends on very positive commissioning decisions by the inexperienced new Clinical Commissioning Groups, the groups of GPs that will from April 2013 be responsible for designing local health services in England.
Speaking earlier, Nick added, “I urge anyone in South London who is concerned about the future of our beloved health service to respond to the consultation process to make their views known. It is vital that we continue to keep strong public pressure on Matthew Kershaw and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to maintain high-quality NHS services throughout South East London. In the meantime, residents of Greenwich and Woolwich have my full assurance that this issue will remain a major focus of my attention over the coming weeks”.
The consultation closes at midnight Wednesday 13th December, after which the TSA is due to prepare his final report in January. The Secretary of State will then make his decision on the measures to be implemented. To respond to the consultation, click here.