Healthcare cuts get the go-ahead

PUBLISHED: 15:41 29 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:35 25 August 2010

HEALTHCARE cuts are to go ahead despite councillors referring the decision to the Secretary of State.

HEALTHCARE cuts are to go ahead despite councillors referring the decision to the Secretary of State.

The Statutory Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (JHOSC) agreed on Monday evening the details of their referral to the Secretary of State for Health, Alan Johnson.

But the JHOSC also agreed to go ahead with some changes despite Bexley councillors pleading for more time to scrutinise the proposals after receiving them just three days before the meeting.

The councillors voted seven for, one against and three abstained in voting for the implementation proposals which A Picture of Health (APOH) bosses claim are outside the scope of the referral.

The proposals include reducing A&E services at Lewisham to 12 hours a day, adding an Urgent Care Centre to Princess Royal University Hospital, Farnborough (PRUH) and expanding the one at Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup (QMS). Councillors also agreed increasing services at QMS including sexual health, long term conditions management (including diabetes, cardiology), mental health facilities for adults and adolescents among others.

The changes are still to be scrutinised by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) but councillor Donald Massey claimed Bexley had a rough deal.

He said: "We don't want to be obstructive but we are very worried about the expansion of the Urgent Care Centre at QMS. How is that not going to impact on the A&E next door? There is no detailed explanation about that. Just by agreeing to that on the basis of 'you can trust us' is not good enough, because we have learned not to trust APOH because the way they think is not the way residents think."

Bosses at APOH said if the Secretary of State called for a full review to be conducted by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, they would expect his decision by the first half of next year.

All the changes are planned to take place by December 31, 2010.

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