St Helier Hospital's chief exec speaks about 'disappointing news'
The chief executive of St Helier has issued a statement after the hospital moved one step closer to losing its vital services.
On Wednesday the programme board of an NHS healthcare review formally agreed that the hospital should lose its accident and emergency and maternity departments.
Under the Better Services Better Value proposal’s St Helier will also lose its inpatient children’s ward.
Matthew Hopkins described the step as marking a “milestone” in the process.
He said: “As you can imagine, we are disappointed by this decision and, as you would expect, we have raised a number of concerns about the plan.”
His concerns about BSBV’s plans include the proposal to significantly reduce the number of people using hospitals in SW London- in particular A&E services.
He said their experience showed only an increase in the number of patients using the hospital and BSBV schemes to cut the numbers had not yet convinced them.
These worries have also been echoed by the National Clinical Assessment Team (NCAT).
Under the plans, St Helier will become a dedicated planned care centre for elective surgery however Mr Hopkins said they were not convinced the centre will be financially viable in the long term.
He also raised concerns about the effect on recruiting and keeping staff.
He said: “I know that the announcement from the BSBV Programme Board will be disappointing news for our patients, local people, staff and volunteers.
“However, it is important to remember that it is just one of several steps in the approval process and, crucially, the plan is subject to a 12 week public consultation. We expect this to start on October 1.
“Moreover, we should not forget that the plan is not expected to take effect until 2016/17 - at the earliest.
“With this in mind, I know our staff will continue to focus on our number one priority - ensuring our patients continue to receive the best possible care.
“In return, I have promised to continue to raise our concerns about the BSBV plan and to keep them informed as it moves forward.
Mr Hopkins said a big thank you for all the support the hospital had received in relation to the BSBV proposals.
Before the plan can move forward it needs to be agreed by a number of bodies, including the joint primary care trusts of south west London and NHS London.
Subject to their agreement, the plan will go to public consultation.