A healthcare review which has cost taxpayers millions of pounds and made no significant changes to healthcare over the last three years has finally been scrapped.
An announcement from the six Clinical Commissioning Groups in south west London, this morning, said they now want to develop a new five year strategy for local health services instead of continuing with their Better Services Better Value (BSBV) review.
Over the last three years St Helier Hospital has been hampered by BSBV which has twice threatened to axe its A&E, maternity and children’s services.
The failed healthcare review has cost taxpayers a staggering £8.2m over three years even though none of its proposals were implemented.
A consequence of the review was revealed earlier this month when it emerged the £219m redevelopment of St Helier Hospital was unlikely to go ahead due to the uncertainty it had faced under BSBV.
A statement from BSBV said: “We do not propose to continue with our BSBV programme or to consult on the options that emerged from it, which have now been withdrawn.
“The next step will be for us to discuss our new approach with our boards and with local provider trusts and seek their support for it. We plan to announce our five-year strategy in June 2014.”
A statement from the Epsom and St Helier trust revealed they will remove the giant banner which adorns the front of the hospital stating that the £219m redevelopment is 'coming soon'.
The chief executive of St Helier Hospital, Matthew Hopkins, said: “It has been a long road for us, which involved times of uncertainty for the future of our services, our patients and our staff. I’d like to thank our staff and volunteers who throughout this time have kept their focus on the day job and have continued to provide high quality care to our patients.
“We are absolutely committed to working with our clinical commissioning groups in further improving healthcare in the region.
“Patients should be assured that the broad range of outpatient, day case and inpatient services remain available at our two main sites.
"Just like all other NHS trusts across the country, we are developing a business plan for the future of our hospitals and services (including long-term financial modelling), which provides details of how we will continue to provide high quality care in an affordable, efficient way."
The hospital will be working with commissioners over the coming months to develop their five year strategy.
Hospital campaigners are still concerned for the future of St Helier Hospital. The region’s health bosses, the CCGs, have pledged to continue supporting BSBV's case for change and are proposing to use BSBV's analysis in developing their plans over the next five years.
Paul Burstow the MP for Sutton and Cheam said: "My concern is on one hand they are reassuring the public they have dropped BSBV's plans and at the same time they say they are going to use BSBV's methods. Given they were heavily flawed - would they reach the same flawed conclusion?"
Ruth Dombey the leader of Sutton Council said: “The Council and the public had significant concerns about the BSBV proposals and we’re pleased that the programme has been disbanded. We need to work together with our healthcare partners to develop robust plans so that we can secure the long-term future of St Helier Hospital”
Siobhain McDonagh, MP for Mitcham and Morden, said: "I think it's a step forward but we need to take it all in because clearly it's going to have consequences for hospitals. We have crossed one hurdle but I'm not under any illusion that there won't be more.
"It doesn't answer what is happening to the £219m that is in the country's books but the local health service is not using. I'd like to see the refurbishment of St Helier that could be there if they just use the money that has been allotted for it."
Tom Brake the MP for Carshalton and Wallington said: "Good riddance to BSBV. It was flawed, too narrowly focused and costly. But the nightmare isn't over yet. New plans will emerge eventually and these must secure St Helier's long term future. That is what I have been fighting for for over twenty years and will continue to fight for until our hospital is safe.'
Paul Scully, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Sutton and Cheam, said: "I am glad that the clinicians that led the ill-fated BSBV review have realised the depth of feeling of local people. Now we need stability."
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