Below is Clive Efford’s response to proposals that have come from doctors, nurses and midwives regarding the future of health services in Greenwich, Bexley, Lewisham and Bromley. Health professionals from all four boroughs met to debate changes they would like to see in local health services
“I believe it is important that people are made aware that no hospitals are closing as a consequence of any proposed changes to our local health services. I am aware that there have been many rumours circulating regarding the future of Queen Mary’s Sidcup and it is important that these are brought to an end.”
“These current proposals are drawn up by health professionals and will be taken into consideration alongside the views of local people. I believe that they go too far, but before any decisions can be taken there must be a very extensive consultation with local people. It is not possible for any decisions to be taken without this having taken place. I will make sure that everyone will get the opportunity to have their say.”
“The problem is that too many people go to A&E rather than visit their local GP. If we are going to deal with this problem then we will need to develop services in the community. This is why I welcome the development of a walk-in treatment centre at the Eltham and Mottingham Cottage Hospital in Passey Place in Eltham. The centre will be open 24 hours a day and will also house intermediate care beds.”
“The answer to the problem of over-worked A&Es is not to close them. We need new services in the community like the Eltham and Mottingham Cottage Hospital that will reduce the burden on A&Es and allow them to treat the most urgent cases. Until people get treatment closer to their homes in local health centres I would not support any proposals to close A&Es as the doctors and nurses propose.”
“The document from the doctors and nurses also states that there is ‘high level of consensus among clinicians on the proposals’. If there is going to be a worthwhile discussion with local people it is important that we hear the views of all health professionals including those who do not agree with these proposals about the extent and nature of their objections.”
“I will also be seeking assurances that social-service providers will be fully involved in this process in order to avoid any cost shunting on to local authorities. Issues relating to the discharge of patients and care in the community will be an essential part of this discussion.”
These proposals will be reviewed by Professor George Alberti on behalf of the London NHS within the next month. Once he has reported on his review then a full public consultation will take place on any proposals that come forward. “I will be making sure that the voices of local people are heard loud and clear throughout this process,” said Clive.