Concerned GPs key to saving St Helier services
GPs set to run NHS services in Sutton from next year raised concerns about proposals to close the hospital’s key services, throwing the long term future of the cuts into doubt.
The Sutton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is set to dictate what services are commissioned in Sutton from April 1 next year, as part of a Government restructuring of the NHS.
The consortium of GPs and 27 GP practices is to take over from NHS Sutton and Merton and its umbrella organisation NHS SW London, that is overseing the review which has so far recommended St Helier’s A&E and maternity are closed.
It is seen as essential to driving through any decisions made by NHS SW London, as they will be in charge when the proposed closures of accident and emergency departments would take place in 2016-17.
Campaigners believe without their support, any proposed cuts made by NHS SW London could be dropped or reversed.
Sutton and Cheam MP Paul Burstow questioned the legitimacy of NHS SW London to lead such a critical review, saying any decisions about the future of services should be made by the clinical commissioning groups, not by organisations that will not be around when any proposed change comes into place.
In a statement released last week, a spokesman for the Sutton CCG said: "Having received the news on the results of the scoring panel from the Better Services Better Value review, Sutton CCG is concerned with the outcome and what it might mean for Sutton if a proposal is put forward to close the A&E and maternity units at St Helier."
"We are going to study all of the recommendations carefully and will continue to play our part in the programme and consultation process.
"We will also encourage our patients and colleagues to get involved in the programme and have their say.
"We are committed to working with Epsom & St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust to ensure that the quality of hospital services our patients need are maintained and indeed improved when the new hospital block is built."
Councillor Colin Stears, executive member for adult social services and health at Sutton Council, said: “It’s ridiculous that the future of health services for the people of Sutton is being dictated by a group that won’t even be in existence when the proposed changes come into force.
“Local GPs are clearly best placed to make decisions about the future of our services and the needs of our borough, and indeed they’ll be the ones commissioning services long after NHS South West London has been dismantled.
"They should have played a central role in the Better Services Better Value review, and we are already working with them to fight Sutton’s corner and protect local services.”
A BSBV spokesman said: "It is the clinicians who have led this review from the start and it is them who will continue to lead it and take it forward in the future."