Review panel recommends Croydon University Hospital should keep its Accident & Emergency Department and Maternity Unit
The NHS in south-west London (which covers the six boroughs of Croydon, Sutton, Merton, Wandsworth, Kingston and Richmond) is currently conducting a review of its services entitled Better Services, Better Value.
There are currently four main hospitals in south-west London - Croydon University (formerly Mayday), St Helier, St George’s and Kingston. The review has concluded that in order to improve the quality of care patients receive they need to increase staffing levels - and in particular the number of senior doctors - on duty in Accident & Emergency (A&E) Departments and Maternity Units and that, in the absence of large sums of extra money, the only way to do this is to reduce from having four A&E Departments and four Maternity Units to three of each. It has also decided that it makes sense for one hospital to lose both its A&E Department and its Maternity Unit (rather than one hospital losing its A&E Department and a different hospital losing its Maternity Unit); that it shouldn’t be St George’s, given its status as the main hospital in south west London; and that whichever hospital is chosen should instead get a state-of-the-art Planned Surgery Centre. So to summarise, they have decided that one of Croydon University, Kingston and St Helier Hospitals should lose its A&E Department and Maternity Unit but gain a Planned Surgery Centre and they now need to decide which one.
To help do that, they set up a panel of 60 members of the public, patients, doctors, nurses, local authority and voluntary sector representatives and directors of public health to score the three options on various non-financial criteria including clinical quality, patient experience and travel times. Yesterday, they announced the result of this scoring exercise - St Helier scored 201 points, Kingston scored 119 and Croydon University scored 109.
This is clearly very good news for Croydon - it is inconceivable that a town of our size shouldn’t have a hospital with an A&E Department and Maternity Unit and given the relative location of the four hospitals it always looked like St Helier was the logical choice. On a personal level, I made a clear promise at the last Election and have been lobbying very hard behind the scenes to make sure we got the right result.
We mustn’t however take anything for granted - the panel’s report will now be combined with a financial appraisal and go to the Better Services, Better Value project board and then to the boards of the various Primary Care Trusts, who will put their recommendation out to public consultation. Once that public consultation is underway, I will be contacting constituents to urge them to respond. But, based on today’s news, there is every reason to believe we are going to see improvements to our A&E Department and Maternity Unit.