Panel says GPs to decide future of hospitals in Epsom and south west London
The Better Services Better Value (BSBV) team has confirmed that decisions on the reconfiguration of acute health services will be made by GPs and it is continuing to engage with Surrey’s residents - including organising a public meeting in the next few weeks.
A BSBV spokesman said that up until the end of March, the decision-making role lay with the joint committee of primary care trusts (JCPCT), with NHS London providing an ‘assurance’ on the programme - ensuring that the BSBV team had a good pre-consultation business case for the decisions to be consulted on.
But, the "decision-making role" will now lie with the GP commissioning groups which will come into force on April 1- a strong indicator that no decision on which two hospitals out of Epsom, St Helier, Croydon and Kingston will lose their A&E, maternity and children units, will be made before then.
He said: "In the new NHS structures, the decision-making role will be taken on by a Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups (JCCCG), as was always anticipated.
"This is expected to have the same membership as the JCPCT which is now operating in ‘shadow’ form.
"The CCGs have of course been involved throughout the programme and been a driving force behind it - they all sit on the clinical strategy group and programme board.
"The commissioning board is already operating in ‘shadow’ form and its leaders are fully briefed on BSBV."
He said the BSBV team would continue to talk to residents "in advance of public consultation on any proposals later this year".
Simon Williams, a Surrey GP who is part of the programme’s clinical leadership, said the BSBV team has written to local community groups and voluntary organisations, offering to meet with them and encouraged residents and charities to get in touch.
He said an online survey will also be launched "to gather people’s views and concerns about local health services" and a public event will be held within the next few weeks.
Dr Williams said: "Once clinical commissioning groups agree proposals for service change, there will be a full three-month public consultation which will look at all of the issues in depth.
"But we have started a conversation in Surrey which we would like to continue up to and during the consultation.
"This review is all about delivering higher standards of care and making local services sustainable. It’s important that people understand the case for change and that they have their say."
To register an interest in the future public consultation email the BSBV team on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8251 0512.