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A&E cuts to be looked at by minister

PUBLISHED: 15:30 03 December 2008 | UPDATED: 15:46 25 August 2010

HEALTH chiefs that decided to slash A&E units in the area will have to justify their decisions to the government this week.

HEALTH chiefs that decided to slash A&E units in the area will have to justify their decisions to the government this week.

Bosses on the A Picture of Health committee who decided to remove A&E and maternity services from Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup, were due to write to the Secretary of State for Health Alan Johnson yesterday. Mr Johnson asked for their formal representations after the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee (JOSCH) and Bexley council referred the cuts in August and September.

The Chair of the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JPCTS) Michael Chuter, which decided on the cuts, said he expected Mr Johnson to refer the case to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP). He said: "Our [representation] is very unlikely to make a difference to the case going to the IRP as this, politically, is the most likely outcome."

Mr Chuter said he expected the IRP to take two to six months to rule on the plans.

DR CHRIS Streather took on the role of interim chief executive at financially challenged Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust (BHT) on Monday. He also said he intends to apply for the top job if trust merger proposals, amalgamating BHT, Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup and Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich are approved. Dr Streather succeeds Mike Marchment, appointed in June this year on a temporary contract. He has been Medical Director at St George's Hospital in Tooting since September 2004 and was previously Clinical Director for Medicine at the hospital.

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