Independent clinical review of recommendation to close St Helier's services
NHS experts have raised concerns over the evidence being presented to close the A&E and maternity services at St Helier Hospital.
The National Clinical Advisory Team, that conducts an independent clinical review whenever a major reconfiguration of NHS services is proposed, met with representatives from NHS SW London’s Better Services, Better Value (BSBV) team last week.
A panel working on behalf of BSBV recommended earlier this month that St Helier lose its A&E and maternity as part of a cost-cutting shake-up of hospitals in SW London.
But sources close to the review revealed this week that at the meeting NCAT had concerns about NHS SW London’s predictions sufficient alternative services would be in place to ensure three A&E and maternity units could cope with demand, and the affect it could have on patient outcomes.
Currently A&E and maternity departments at St Helier have seen arise in the number of people visiting.
Figures used by the review rely on a fall in numbers using A&E and maternity services.
NCAT, which is due to meet again with NHS bosses in a month, has the power to halt the review before it goes out to consultation, if it feels the proposals are not viable.
Sutton and Cheam MP Paul Burstow has said he does not feel the statistics being presented by NHS SW London in the review are realistic.
After meeting staff at St Helier Hospital this week, he said: "This entire review has been based on the hopes and fantasies of NHS South West London, rather than the practicalities and realities that affect ordinary people.
"The evidence I heard from staff at St Helier really brings this home, and I will continue to fight to ensure that their voices are heard."
A spokesman for BSBV said: "NCAT congratulated us on defining our ambition and for articulating clearly the principles that are defining this reconfiguration.
"Having understood those principles they have now asked us for more detail about specific pathways and how we can demonstrate achieving the shift of volume into primary care in around four or five years time.
"They were particularly interested in understanding in more detail the current patient pathways for key specialties, notably emergency and maternity."