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!

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