Thursday, 30 May 2013


Hospital bosses asked to sign pre-written letters in support of controversial BSBV proposals

11:00am Thursday 30th May 2013
Exclusive By Hardeep Matharu
Medical directors at the hospitals involved in the Better Services Better Value (BSBV) review have been asked to sign pre-written letters drafted by the BSBV team saying they support the changes outlined in its controversial proposals, it has emerged.
Health campaigner Jane Race tipped this newspaper off about the "pre-written letter in support of the BSBV review" of acute hospital services which she said has been sent out to the medical and nursing directors at hospitals involved, by BSBV.
The affected hospitals are Epsom and St Helier, Croydon, St George’s and Kingston.
It is understood that the letters outline support for the changes proposed in the review and for the level of involvement of the directors in the process.
It is believed that some individuals, who have serious concerns about the process, feel they have been put in an "uncomfortable" position being asked to sign, fearing their future careers may be jeopardised if they do not.
A BSBV spokesman confirmed today that the letters have been sent out.
He said: "The standard Department of Health assurance process requires written evidence of clinical support as part of the ‘four tests’ for NHS service change.
"We have been asked to provide letters to demonstrate that there has been clinical engagement and support for the case for change and the proposed models of care.
"These letters were discussed at our clinical strategy group and programme board and it was agreed that the BSBV programme team would draft outline letters for trusts to consider.
"We are awaiting their responses and will publish these letters in due course."
The letter sent by the BSBV team to the medical and nursing directors at Epsom, St Helier, Kingston, Croydon and St George's hospitals:
23rd May 2013

We, the Medical and Nursing Directors of the five hospitals involved in the Better Services Better Valueprogramme and members of the Clinical Strategy Group (CSG), can verify that there has been wide-ranging active involvement of clinicians and clinician support for the programme’s aims and processes.

We have collectively and individually nominated medical and nursing colleagues as members of the CWGs, and have provided leadership and challenge throughout course of the programme.  Two of the CWGs have been co-chaired by Medical Directors, and we have been involved in nominating co-chairs of the other CWGs, either from the outset of BSBV or as vacancies have arisen.

Specifically, our role as members of the CSG has been to:
•         Provide ongoing advice and support on BSBV’s strategic direction through our expertise as clinicians and clinical managers
•         Agreed the clinical quality standards for BSBV which underpin the development of the BSBV models of care – these are informed by the London Quality Standards and guidance of various Royal Colleges and equivalent organisations
•         Provide clinical leadership in the design of models of care through the work undertaken by the CWGs, all of which report to the CSG for approval
We understand and are supportive of the case for change.  We believe that the proposed clinical standards will deliver better quality care and outcomes, and we understand that implementing the standards may require reconfiguration of services as they are currently provided.  We understand the process that has been undertaken to develop the reconfiguration options and we participated in the non-financial evaluation of these.  There now remain three options which are considered to be viable and we give our support to go out to public consultation on these.

Rosalind Given-Wilson and Alison Robertson
St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust
Jane Wilson and Duncan Burton
Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Tony Newman Sanders and Zoe Packman
Croydon Health Services NHS Trust
Martin Stockwell
Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust
Ruth Charlton
Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust
Pippa Hart
Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust


Thursday, 23 May 2013

The future of Epsom Hospital: Highlights of the Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group Board Meeting.

For members of the public who may have missed the SDCCG Board meeting, which voted to delegate their decision as to the future of Epsom Hospital to 3 people, here are a few highlights via YouTube! 

Speaker: Mr H. Shehata FRCOG FRCPI
Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Epsom & St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust
Honorary Senior Lecturer, St George’s Hospital, London
Clinical Director Women & Children, Epsom General Hospital
Member SWL Maternity CWG and BSBV
Co-author of the RCOG The Future Workforce in Obstetrics & Gynaecology, June 2009

Member of NICE Maternity Guidelines Development Groups    

Speaker: Rosemary Najim, Epsom Hospital Campaign

Speaker: Dr Janet Nicholls, Clinical lead paediatrician. Epsom Hospital
Associate Dean of Postgraduate Medicine, London Deanery

Monday, 20 May 2013

The BSBV Botch Up!

I have written to Surrey Downs CCG board today  setting out the evidence from the Birthplace study which confirms that 40% of first time mothers need transfer from a Midwife stand alone unit. I have also corrected many of the misleading or insufficient answers the board gave to the written questions from the public.

I have also given some examples of sick children who really needed a hospital close at hand and elderly patients whose relatives cannot visit them when they are too far away.

Let's hope the Board listen to the reasons we need to keep our services at Epsom and avoid an expensive consultation which wouldn't be needed if proper evidence about Epsom and surrounding areas had been collected first.


It was wonderful to see so many people turn out for the Surrey Downs CCG meeting at Epsom Race course last Friday and it made me feel very proud that people care so much for our local hospital. There were well over 700 people who attended and many were turned away as there was not enough room! 
Waiting outside in the cold at start of meeting!

However, the effort made by the public, my neighbours and friends makes the misinformation and lack of reassurance from some of the board about Epsom Hospital’s future even more reprehensible.

Hundreds of people turned out in support of Epsom Hospital

We are collecting together all the wrong and/ or misleading information and will consider how this should be dealt with but would like to raise now the contrast between the transparent way Sutton CCG held their meeting and the way Surrey CCG refused to let their board members respond to the public and explain why and how they would vote, instead moving straight to vote on delegating powers to a small number of the board.

This attempt at secrecy is very worrying and we have raised some of these matters under a Freedom of Information request and will let the public know the results when they are received.

A full house at the SDCCG Board meeting!

Members of the SDCCG board take their seats.

Hospital Campaigners, Jane Race and Rosemary Najim in the front row!

Chris Grayling MP arrives at the meeting.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013


For the last two weeks we have been out and about giving information to the unsuspecting public that BSBV want to strip Epsom Hospital of essential, life saving, services. 

SCC Tina Mountain and Jane Race from Epsom Hospital Campaign giving out leaflets at The Vale Primary School.

We have been outside the local schools including Wallace Fields, St Martins and the Vale Primary School letting parents know what will happen if BSBV get their way and asking them to go to the Surrey Downs Board Meeting which is open to the public on Friday 17th May at Epsom Racecourse at 1.30pm -5pm.

Epsom and Ewell Business Partnership Networking Event.

We have also been putting up posters in local churches, giving out leaflets in Epsom High Street, and at the Epsom and Ewell Business Partnership Networking events.

It is not just local mums and dads but business leaders from the area who are up in arms about the attack on Epsom Hospital by BSBV!

I have also written to local schools in Epsom, Ashtead, and Leatherhead asking headteachers to forward my emails on to parent's informing them of the meeting on Friday and the consequences of BSBV's decisions to cull services at Epsom Hospital.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013


You will have heard about the meeting of Surrey Downs GP commissioning group, to be held on 17th May at Epsom Race Course, where the decision whether to support the BSBV review proposal to remove Epsom Maternity, Children's ward and A&E, will be taken.

The following lists some of the things that have been wrong with the review and some of the dangers that may arise if the GPs agree to remove our services. We have evidence to support all the points listed below. We haven't included points about money for these plans but others have raised serious doubts over whether these changes are affordable.

1. Lack of evidence.
E.g. The children's lead doctor at Bourne Hall public meeting claimed many lives could be saved but when challenged couldn't give any figures for Epsom or for other hospitals in the review! In the document BSBV issued this week Maternal deaths are again given as a reason for the changes.  The South London Commissioning Support unit admitted THEY DON'T HAVE THE FIGURES (We have this in reply to a freedom of information request).

2.  Epsom's excellent safety record for Maternity, Children’s and other services.
We have figures showing Epsom's maternity and children's department is amongst the safest in Surrey, which is the safest in the Country. Epsom passed a recent Royal College inspection. Epsom Hospital came second in a recent assessment of 32 London Hospitals' acute services.
Epsom's children's doctors also care for children in the community. We would lose all these doctors if they were made to work at London hospitals instead of Epsom and the community.

3. Time it would take to travel to other maternity or children's units in emergencies.

Recent whistle-blowers in the ambulance service in South East England have shown many areas have very long waits for emergency ambulances.
We have met parents in Ashtead whose son nearly died from an acute asthma attack while waiting for an ambulance. His mother now puts him straight in a car and comes to A and E. Severely ill children need a children's doctor close enough to save their life.

We have heard of a parent who drove the paramedic's ambulance under blue lights to A&E while the paramedic helped the baby- there wasn't time to wait for an ambulance!

We have met many mothers who have said their babies would have been born on the journey if they hadn't had Epsom available. This is NOT safe, as babies or mothers may need help.

4. Worries over midwife standalone units.

Recent studies think these are safe for low risk mothers and the BSBV review has surveyed mothers to ask for their views.
However, the same studies say 4 out of 10 mothers of first babies will need to be transferred to a maternity unit, which has doctors.  Please see point 3 above, which suggests these mothers would be at risk as we are at least 30 minutes from other hospitals. 

A solicitor, who has dealt with cases where babies have died at Midwife only units, because there were delays in transfer, has written online about his worries about Lewisham having just a midwife led unit. We will be in that position too - or will have no provision locally and will have risky long journeys in labour for all mothers.

We can have the new midwife led unit that is due to open at Epsom so mothers can enjoy a natural birth, BUT WE NEED access to the doctors at Epsom who can do Caesarian sections when the baby or mother is in danger.

5 A&E support.
We need a small A&E department (car crash patients already are taken elsewhere).
We need senior doctors who can stabilise patients and save their life in an emergency. Patients may need to be moved later but we need more than an urgent care unit with GPs.  Do we find urgent care from GPs satisfactory at the moment? 

HANDS OFF! Letting people know that BSBV wants our Maternity and A&E!

Do please come to the meeting on Friday 17th May. Even if you can only spare an hour or so!

Children are very welcome as it shows you support these services at Epsom.

Jane Race
Epsom Hospital Campaign.

Please click on the link below, and download a poster from Epsom Guardian, to put up in your home and work place in support of our hospital!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The battle for Epsom Hospital's Maternity and A&E continues!

Please see my latest letter to the Epsom Guardian regarding Epsom Hospital's future:

Dear Editor,
In the consultation document issued by the BSBV review, who this week announced they wanted to remove Epsom’s Maternity, Children’s and A&E services, they state one of the reasons for the changes is that there have been too many avoidable maternity deaths in London.
At the Bourne Hall BSBV public meeting, the lead doctor on the Maternity and children’s table was unable to give any details about figures for deaths at any of the 5 hospitals in BSBV.
We wrote to the South London Commissioning support unit, under the freedom of information Act, and received the reply that they do not have these figures, which are only available from individual hospitals.

Is this another example of decisions being taken by BSBV and then information being made up to fit those decisions?
Jane Race

Related stories:

Friday, 3 May 2013


Out canvassing in College Ward for Tina Mountain for Surrey County Council

On the 3rd of April 2013 Tina Mountain, Epsom Conservative Chairman,  became the first Conservative County Councillor in Epsom and Ewell for twenty years!

Telling at St Martin's Church Polling Station!

A victorious Tina Mountain celebrating on Epsom Downs!

Smiles and sunshine all round!