Doctors uncertain over A&E closure

PUBLISHED: 13:06 17 June 2010 | UPDATED: 18:02 25 August 2010

DOCTORS are divided on the closure of an Accident and Emergency unit creating more uncertainty about the future of a busy hospital.

DOCTORS are divided on the closure of an Accident and Emergency unit creating more uncertainty about the future of a busy hospital.

Old Bexley and Sidcup MP James Brokenshire met with GPs based in Frognal, Sidcup to get their reaction to the axing of Queen Mary's A&E in Sidcup.

This comes after the new coalition government promised to halt the health shake-up proposed by committee A Picture of Health, which will see the axing of the in-patient paediatric and maternity unit.

Since 2007 the Times' Save Our Services campaign has highlighted the unpopularity of the measures with the residents of Greenwich, Bexley and Bromley.

Bosses at the Department of Health have promised that if GPs and patients want to keep the A&E at Sidcup, then it will not be axed.

Mr Brokenshire said: "It would be fair to say there were mixed views. There were some who supported A Picture of Health, and some who took a different view.

"It would be presumptuous of me to make conclusions as I still have more GPs to speak to.

"There is a strong desire to see positive role for Queen Mary's and to see a strong hospital facility there but there is debate as to what shape that will take."

Health Minister Simon Burns wrote to the Mr Brokenshire stating "that in future, all service changes must be led by clinicians and patients, not be driven from top down".

He added: "We expect that this will require further work to be carried out locally to engage with patients, GPs as commissioners, and local authorities, more directly in putting plans in place."

The Minister also confirmed that NHS bodies with current reorganisation proposals including those which are ongoing, will be asked to revisit their plans, to ensure that they have the backing of GPs and councils.

However, the government have yet to confirm what shape the new consultations will take.

This comes after Health Secretary Andrew Lansley stopped the implementation of the capital-wide Healthcare for London plan, which advocates more polyclinics.

Mr Lansley's actions sparked high profile resignations from NHS London, including its former chief Sir Richard Sykes last month.

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