BSBV chief accuses campaigners of 'toxic pressure' over hospital reforms (From This Is Local London)
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BSBV chief accuses campaigners of 'toxic pressure' over Epsom Hospital reforms
MPs and campaigners have been accused of creating ‘toxic’ political pressure which risks derailing vital changes to hospitals across south west London.
In an interview with the Evening Standard yesterday Dr Marilyn Plant, medical director at Better Services Better Value (BSBV), defended a review which has proposed axing front-line services at Epsom and St Helier Hospitals.
Her comments came ahead of a filmed interview with this newspaper on Friday when we will put readers questions to her.
Dr Plant told the Standard: "This has been a very politically contentious review. This is the opportunity of a lifetime to sort out south-west London’s healthcare landscape. I believe we have to take it.
"I do think that the politicians are very focused on their personal electorate, and they struggle to appreciate the greater good because their own interests are thereby compromised."
Dr Plant said proposals needed to go out to consultation before Christmas to avoid being caught up in the 2014 local elections or 2015 general election.
But MP Chris Grayling, who is fighting to save Epsom Hospital, rubbished Dr Plant’s claim that his campaign was about politics not improving services.
Mr Grayling said: "That’s just nonsense, complete nonsense. What we are opposing is a process that so far has been utterly inept.
"I’m not going to go out and argue to constituents that they should support a change when all the evidence we have seen is poorly thought out and the process has been at best misleading."
Mr Grayling said the BSBV team members needed to realise the process had ridden roughshod over the interests of Surrey, had presented misleading data and had no support.
He said: "The process so far has been shockingly poor and has completely failed to persuade anyone locally that the result is going to be better services.
"If they persist in this process they should expect the strongest possible public opposition."
Mr Grayling said the review had been skewed against Epsom and its program of change looked ‘unaffordable and undeliverable'.
He said: "It’s been a botched job all the way through. They continue in limbo because there’s no support for them."
And he said that Dr Plant's accusations "suggest we are winning the argument. An outburst like this suggests they are losing the argument."
In response to her claim that politicians were very focused on their personal electorate, he said: "Shock. Local MP argues for what he believes to be in the interests of his constituents.
"What does she expect? I have seen absolutely no evidence that BSBV offers a better option."
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