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MP fears review will be biased

PUBLISHED: 17:36 13 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:10 25 August 2010

AN MP claims a review into health care cuts will not be independent.

AN MP claims a review into health care cuts will not be independent.

The Bexley Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee decided last Monday to refer plans which include stripping Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup, of its A&E, maternity unit and children's in-patient services, to the Secretary of State, Alan Johnson, for review. But Old Bexley and Sidcup, MP Derek Conway, said although he welcomed the decision to take the case to review, he feared the process will not be neutral. He said: "I have little faith that the review will do anything other than back his ministerial appointees who have come up with this scheme. But delay gives hope. There has been no real independent consideration given to this plan at any stage. The reviews carried out to date have been done with the government's strategy at the fore and that is to reduce the number of hospitals and expand the polyclinic 'super-GP' concept."

But last year the Department of Health confirmed that all reviews will be automatically sent to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) to assess.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said: "The Secretary of State will respond to such referrals only when the IRP has reported to him."

So far, no Secretary of State has gone against the recommendations given by the IRP.

Members of the Scrutiny Committee are currently working with council officers to formulate the formal referral to Mr Johnson.

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