BSBV review 'not supported' by Epsom's doctors, say clinicians involved in process
Epsom’s doctors do not support their threatened hospital’s inclusion in the Better Services Better Value (BSBV) review and believe attempts have been made to silence opponents, according to an open letter by doctors involved in the process.
Hassan Shehata, Janet Nicholls and Guan Lim, who work at Epsom Hospital and sit on clinical working groups (CWGs) which feed back to the BSBV review, have written a letter saying that despite claims that clinicians are in support of the process, this support "does not come from Epsom clinicians".
The letter states: "Epsom has only been added in the last two months as an afterthought.
"As Epsom has entered as the fifth site it has been in a minority position from the start and the views of clinicians therefore unable to influence or change the models previously proposed.
"Attempts have been made to exclude those openly opposed to BSBV.
"Speed has been the overriding factor with no detailed modelling or evidence to support the proposals."
The consultants said the quality of care delivered by the hospital has not been taken into account and the possibility of both Epsom and St Helier being turned into local care centres under the BSBV review would result in residents having to travel much further for acute services, which they should not have to do.
The letter states: "Centralising services at three hospitals at one end of a geographical area does not make sense if the aim is to deliver better services for all residents.
"Future services at Epsom should be planned by Surrey commissioners and residents who are best placed to make these decisions.
"Epsom is a densely populated and growing area that deserves excellent local acute healthcare services.
"Surrey’s GPs, Surrey’s commissioners and the Surrey population have voiced their support for Epsom Hospital continuing as an acute centre.
"BSBV is an attempt to remove from them the right to choose their own future public services.
"Our plan for services at Epsom can deliver the highest quality consultant-level care.
"We do not believe that Surrey residents should have to travel to London to access this care."
Following the open letter, Matthew Hopkins, chief executive at Epsom and St Helier NHS trust, wrote to the BSBV team "to reflect the concerns raised by some of the trust’s clinicians".
In a letter to Rachel Tyndall, the manager in charge of the day-to-day running of the BSBV review, Mr Hopkins raised concerns about clinical quality, safety, staffing, and care in the community.
He said: "It is enormously important that clinicians of all hues are satisfied that their views have been heard and properly considered, and that the [clinical] models have been rigorously evidenced and tested.
"We still have some way to go to be confident that we have a strong, clinically coherent platform to build upon."
In her response Ms Tyndall said:"Following your advice we organised separate meetings with the clinicians concerned to make sure that we had fully understood their reservations and that the CWG leaders had a chance to present their proposals.
"I understand that the clinicians involved were grateful for the opportunity for this further discussion.
"Following endorsement of each CWG’s recommendations by the clinical strategy group, I think we do have a strong, clinically coherent platform to build upon but I do not underestimate the further work that needs to take place before these models become a reality."
The letters in full
Open letter to Matthew Hopkins
Matthew Hopkins' letter to Rachel Tyndall
Rachel Tyndall's response to Matthew Hopkins