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The consultant who broke his silence

PUBLISHED: 17:46 10 June 2009 | UPDATED: 16:50 25 August 2010

A HOSPITAL consultant who was present at a controversial meeting claims there was already an assumption that an A&E would be closed five months before a public consultation. Urologist Roy Isworth, of Queen Mary s Hospital in Woolwich, was one of the co

A HOSPITAL consultant who was present at a controversial meeting claims there was already an "assumption" that an A&E would be closed five months before a public consultation.

Urologist Roy Isworth, of Queen Mary's Hospital in Woolwich, was not one of the consultants named on a list of invitees, but attended the controversial Emergency Medicine meeting ahead of proposals to slash health services in south-east London.

He recalled that there was a general assumption among the clinicians that Queen Mary's Hospital in Sidcup (QMS) would be the casualty in plans to shake up hospital services.

He told the Times: "What emerged from what I can recall were general options where there would be three major casualty departments not four and that QMS would be most likely to become a minor injuries unit.There were three options that were presented involving four sites, including Lewisham. There were a lot of debates about maternity and casualty departments. There is a case to be made concentrating services rather than having a lot of bits of pieces everywhere.

"I don't think that is unreasonable. Casualty departments are not what the public gleam from soap operas. Sixty per cent of people who go there don't have a lot wrong with them.

"The new Trust is looking at the number of options at the moment and no definite decisions have been taken. The only final decision was the merger as that has actually happened."

Publicly-funded committee A Picture of Health (APOH) could only provide 53 names of invitees to the workshop on September 5, 2007. At this meeting, they claimed that '100 clinicians' agreed that specialist services should be concentrated on two sites. APoH have consistently denied that any sites had been earmarked for downgrading. In a letter to the Times, a spokesman for APoH said: "The event made recommendations as to the best way to provide NHS services (namely preferring a concentration of specialist services) and did not consider or recommend which services should be provided on each site." A spokesperson for University Hospital Lewisham, where the meeting was held, said: "The seminar was divided into separate presentations from the workstreams. Many of the clinicians attended only the workstream that was relevant to them. It was announced on May 8, following an inquiry by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, QMS will lose its A&E whilst nearby PFI hospitals Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich and Princess Royal Hospital,Bromley will keep theirs.

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