Thursday, 31 October 2013


31 October 2013
Media release                                                              
Surrey Downs doctors to vote to gauge level of support for BSBV proposals

Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is to poll its GPs to see if local doctors agree with the Better Services, Better Value (BSBV) proposals.  This is part of the assurance process required by NHS England before the south west London and Surrey Downs clinical commissioning groups can meet to decide if public consultation can begin. 

Evidence of GP support is one of four tests introduced by Andrew Lansley in 2010 to ensure that planned significant service changes: are underpinned by clear evidence of the clinical case for change; have benefitted from strengthened patient and public engagement; have the support of local GP commissioners; and have consistency with current and potential patient choice.

The Governing Body of Surrey Downs CCG is offering all GPs the opportunity to vote including salaried GPs and locums.  This is because all BSBV options propose major changes at Epsom Hospital.

Miles Freeman, Chief Officer at Surrey Downs CCG said:
“As a Governing Body we have carefully reviewed and deliberated the Better Services Better Value proposals and we have also considered other alternatives, working with Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust.

“The Governing Body fully acknowledges that BSBV proposes the highest standards of care for London services.  However, that shared ambition must be balanced with the needs of Surrey and the current BSBV proposals may not offer the only or best solution for local patients.

“As a membership organisation it’s only right and proper that we test the level of support through a ballot of all our GPs. The ballot is being managed independently and we will announce the outcome on 8 November.”


Note to editors

Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group is responsible for commissioning healthcare for the 290,000 people living in Mole Valley, Epsom and Ewell, east Elmbridge and Banstead. The CCG is made up of 33 GP practices and has a budget of £314 million to buy healthcare from local hospitals, community services, social care, ambulance services, mental health care and any many other services for local people.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Rip off Council propose another price rise for parking in Epsom town centre

Councillors must stop fleecing residents over parking charges

9:30am Tuesday 22nd October 2013

 I am writing in response to the Epsom Guardian’s online article stating that the council wants to increase the parking charges in Epsom again.

When I first suggested to the new town centre manager, Adam Worley, the introduction of an Epsom Card I hoped that he would copy the scheme similar to the Cobham Village Card, where members receive money off shops in return for their loyalty.

I also asked him to reduce parking charges in line with other neighbouring areas.
What the council is proposing comes with an annual fee and will lead to an increase in parking charges, making parking on a Sunday more expensive than car parks in Guildford.

This is quite outrageous.

Councillor Morris agreeing to the council’s proposals to increase car parking fees is again reiterating what the Resident Association councillors have said, i.e. that car parking charges and council tax are the only revenue streams available.

Charging blue badge holders in efforts to raise more money has certainly failed, as most of the disabled parking bays in the Town Hall car park, and Upper High Street remain empty.

Councillor Morris is very mistaken if she thinks that Epsom parking charges are not expensive compared to similar neighbouring towns, and to say '"I love my town and if you don’t like Epsom go and live somewhere else and stop running the town down." is equally out of touch with reality.

I love my town too, but I want to be able to afford to use it! With energy prices going up, we are going to have to pay more just to breathe! How is increasing parking charges helping Epsom residents?
Councillors must think of alternative ways to raise revenue other than fleecing taxpayers!

Jane Race; Epsom

Thursday, 10 October 2013


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Campaigners condemn plan to spend £6m this year on BSBV healthcare review

12:30pm Tuesday 8th October 2013
By Hardeep Matharu
Health campaigners have condemned plans to spend a further £6m of taxpayers' money this year on the healthcare review which is threatening to close Epsom Hospital’s vital services.
The Better Services Better Value (BSBV) healthcare review team plans to spend £436,200 of it on "media, public and training", compared to £124 in their first year, although it insists the amount is good value and will not be spent on PR.
The figures, released by BSBV, reveal the spiralling costs of the review which has earmarked both Epsom and St Helier’s maternity, accident and emergency and paediatric department for closure.
During its first two years combined the review cost just over £6m however this financial year alone the review is proposing to cost £5,989,260.
Staff costs have risen from £75,667 in 2011-12 to a whopping £830,105 in 2013-14 while communications spending has more than doubled to £502,950 this year.
The snowballing costs have sparked a fierce reaction from campaigners.
Chris Grayling MP said: "BSBV has no public support in Surrey and has lost the support of local doctors. At a time when public money is very tight, there is no possible justification in continuing to spend money on a project that looks like it is going nowhere. I'd rather spend the money on nurses instead."
Epsom health campaigner Jane Race said: "The fact that the amount spent on media, public and training in one year amounts to more than most people spend on their family home is quite outrageous.
"BSBV have used this money for a media campaign to deny and undermine public concern about the safety of their proposals. They have employed public relations staff to bombard the public via the internet through social networks like Twitter and through pre-recorded radio shows.
"They have ignored and even blocked clinicians and health campaigners who have raised safety concerns regarding their proposals. They use language such as transforming services, instead of being honest with the public that they are removing services without thought to what will replace them.
"BSBV should use available funds to research local needs and they should adapt their proposals in the light of local clinicians concerns regarding safety."
Bess Harding, health campaigner and fund coordinator for Epsom Medical Equipment Fund, said: "These figures are grossly excessive. Are they subject to a public audit? The public will want to know where this money is being spent. How much will the consultation itself cost?
"Only 15 per cent of Epsom's population would need further care or care at St George's. The remaining 85 per cent of Epsom's population need an A&E and maternity.
"Dozens of houses are being built in Epsom's cachment area so we need additional hospital support.
"Young people will move into these houses that are being built and place extra strain on the maternity services at Epsom. Epsom has a very good reputation and we want to keep it that way."
In a statement the joint directors of BSBV said the costs had been agreed in March, discussed with local councillors and only about a quarter has been spent so far, with the majority being earmaked for the public consultation - which is currently on hold.
They said: "It is expensive to run a best practice public consultation that aims to reach 2 million people across 10 boroughs. We know we need to change services and we need to reach as many people as possible to talk to them about the options.
"Should our proposals go ahead, the savings to the NHS will dwarf the costs of the BSBV programme and those savings will be reinvested to improve local health services."
A BSBV spokesman said the budget for "media, public and training" was in line with similar public consultations and covers everything from advertising public meetings, hiring venues and running a consultation website to Braille materials and training clinicians in best practice consultation and engagement and monitoring media and social media.