Thursday, 29 August 2013

Excellent analysis by Epsom and Sutton Guardian journalists on the BSBV problem.

'BSBV team will not be responsible for providing community care', says medical director of controversial healthcare review

7:00am Friday 30th August 2013
By Sophia Sleigh

The healthcare review proposing to close Epsom Hospital’s A&E and maternity departments will have no responsibility for ensuring community health services are improved for the displaced patients, it has emerged.
The Better Services Better Value (BSBV) healthcare review has earmarked both Epsom and St Helier’s A&E, maternity and paediatric departments for closure a move which is reliant on more services being provided in the community.
However, in an video interview with this newspaper Dr Marilyn Plant, joint medical director for BSBV, revealed it is not within the review’s remit to draw up plans for community services - despite it being one of their key recommendations.
This will be left to the new Clinical Commissioning Groups (local GPs), health and wellbeing boards and the local authorities.
Paul Burstow, the MP for Sutton and Cheam immediately condemned this as a "cop-out".
He said: "This is an incredibly slippery process and I’m shocked she’s making that claim at this stage - that BSBV has nothing to do with out of hospital care.
"I don’t think this is anything other than consolidation of services on fewer sites to create a few super hospitals."
In the interview Dr Plant said: "There’s an element of which comes first the chicken or the egg about it.
"Our review has been about making acute care safer. We know that we could have much safer acute care.
"The care in the community isn’t required to consult on. We can just deliver that."
She said the CCGs had been meeting across south west London and were developing their own plans to improve the way they provide community services but she admitted they had not done very well on that in the past.
It also emerged during the interview that GP surgeries could potentially specialise in different areas with patients being able to use all the surgeries.
Dr Plant added: "That would be one way forward but that’s something that has to be discussed and worked through once we have agreed to the reconfiguration.
"It doesn’t make sense to do it all at once in some ways.
"Although I understand that people feel we should put the community services in place before we change the acute.
"But if we did that we simply wouldn’t pass go really because we already have hospitals that are not financially sustainable so we have to do something and we can’t just let them stay static and deteriorate year on year."
Epsom health campaigner Jane Race said she was not aware that the BSBV team would not have responsibility to ensure that adequate community services are provided for displaced patients if the reforms go ahead, and that it is "disgraceful".
Mrs Race said: "It really is reckless behaviour to take services away without any replacement ideas whatever they may be. 
"They are playing with people’s lives and it’s disgraceful.
"We have known all along that they have not done the work and there is no evidence for what they are suggesting.
"Residents will be shocked but they won’t be surprised.
"Epsom should not be in the BSBV process.  It was shoved in at the last minute and it should be left alone."

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Epsom Parking letter printed in Epsom Guardian

Epsom must stop fleecing motorists over parking charges

9:00am Friday 9th August 2013
I was reading with interest your story (Parking problems 'could force shop to close down, August 8) on residents' parking and how it will affect shops like the Mini Stores in Church Road, which I have used for many years and which members of my family still use.
It is important for the council to address parking not just road by road, as it does currently but for Epsom as a whole. It is not sufficient to just move traffic problems from one road to another.
Residents need to be able to park near where they live, and commuters who work in Epsom need to be able to park affordably near where they work. Users of the town centre need to be able to access the restaurants and shops without having to pay the large sums of money that they have to currently. Epsom's parking charges are very expensive compared to other similar town centres in Surrey and also are more expensive than many shopping centres in London.
I have written to the council regarding the parking charges as recently a judge ruled in London that it was unlawful for councils to raise more money for parking than is required for road maintenance and road related activities. It may be that this judgement could have a huge impact on the council's attitude towards parking charges.
In areas where parking is cheaper, high streets and shops like Mr Patel's flourish despite these difficult economic times. Resident Association councillors have often said that if charges were not increased council tax would have to increase and another RA councillor said via twitter 'We [Epsom and Ewell Borough Council] get around £1.5 million a year from car parking. How would you raise that kind of money?'
Those attitudes simply are not good enough. Epsom needs to have a scheme providing reasonable parking rates for employees. It needs to look at the residents' parking situation as a whole and it needs to address the high charges in the council car parks, so Epsom High Street is restored to the thriving shopping hub that I remember as a child.
The Epsom Guardian is a bastion for successful campaigns notably Epsom Hospital and Zone 6, I would ask that the Guardian run a similar campaign to Save Epsom Town Centre from expensive, possibly even unlawful parking charges encouraging the Epsom and Ewell Council to come up with a proper parking scheme for the whole of Epsom that will be mutually beneficial for residents, commuters and visitors alike.
I would urge the council to take some emergency measures for Mr Patel's shop rather than waiting for a review, by which time it will be too late.
Jane Race