Thursday, 14 November 2013

Epsom Hospital A&E and maternity units saved by doctors' vote BY DORKING ADVERTISER

Epsom Hospital A&E and maternity units saved by doctors' vote

By Dorking Advertiser  |  Posted: November 14, 2013
By Jennifer Hardwick

CELEBRATION:  Campaigners greet the news outside Epsom Hospital this week    REKS20131211a-016_C Photo by Kevin Shaw
CELEBRATION: Campaigners greet the news outside Epsom Hospital this week 
REKS20131211a-016_C Photo by Kevin Shaw
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THE A&E department and maternity ward at Epsom Hospital have been saved after doctors voted overwhelmingly against plans to close them.
The Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – which covers Mole Valley, Banstead and Tadworth – polled its GPs on their views about the Better Services, Better Value (BSBV) review, which recommended that Epsom should become an elective care centre and lose both of the key services.
The results, announced on Friday, showed that 74.3 per cent of 148 medical professionals voted "no" when asked whether they supported the proposals.
The damning conclusion means the CCG will now pull out of the BSBV process, and Epsom will no longer be affected by any recommendations it makes.
CCG chairman Dr Claire Fuller said: "This important ballot result has shown that GPs within our CCG are not confident that the BSBV proposals are able to meet the needs of our local population at this time.
"This decision is not taken lightly or without due care and consideration of patients and colleagues in south west London but our responsibility has to be to our local patients."
Jane Race of the Save Epsom Hospital campaign said she felt "really emotional" when she heard the result of the vote.
She added: "I was in Marks and Spencer at the time and I just cried. I couldn't believe it.
"I think for me personally with everything that BSBV has been saying it was a vindication really, because we had put a lot of evidence out there and it was just poor what they released in response."
The vote was responded to by 66.7 per cent of the health professionals eligible to do so.
Reacting to the news, Mole Valley's MP Sir Paul Beresford said: "From my point of view this is unexpected but delightful. It's quite clear that what the doctors think is what the patients think is what the politicians think.
"Really we can't have Epsom Hospital stuck in with the south west London hospitals. We have got to use this opportunity now to really rally round Epsom and build it up.
"Perhaps it might be possible to look at linking with St Peter's again."
Ashtead MP Chris Grayling was similarly delighted. He said: "I think this is great news for Epsom Hospital and for the community.
"BSBV always failed to recognise the true impact of what it was proposing on healthcare in Surrey. It was all much too London-focused. This will give us a chance to focus on health services in our area and keep those services here rather than in south west London."
Following Surrey Downs CCG's withdrawal from the BSBV programme, the other six CCGs affected by it – Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Sutton and Wandsworth – issued a response stating they "understand and respect" their colleagues' position.

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