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Trusts axing A&E are among the worst’ in Britain

PUBLISHED: 17:33 08 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:28 25 August 2010

DECISION MAKER: Michael Chuter head of the Joint Committee of PCTs who decided to close Queen Mary’s A&E.

DECISION MAKER: Michael Chuter head of the Joint Committee of PCTs who decided to close Queen Mary’s A&E.

HEALTH trusts that were part of the decision making process to close down a much needed and busy A&E are among the worst in the country according to a watchdog.

HEALTH trusts that were part of the decision making process to close down a much needed and busy A&E are among the worst in the country according to a watchdog.

Out of the 152 areas inspected for their urgent and emergency care, PCTs in Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich and Lewisham are among the worst 28 performing in the country.

And these are the four PCTs which decided in July to axe Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup, of its A&E and reduce surgical emergency intake at University Hospital, Lewisham, to just 12 hours a day.

The report, published last Friday by the Healthcare Commission, claimed the worst trusts have weaker GP out-of-hours services, longer waiting times and poor services for those with disabilities or long-term conditions.

It also raised fears over how quickly patients taken to A&E in an ambulance start receiving care.

They found people are confused over where to seek help, face unnecessary delays on being admitted to hospital, and some out-of-hours care is poor.

But the committee who decided to downgrade services in the area said they welcome the report.

Programme director for A Picture of Health (APOH), Oliver Lake, said: "The Healthcare Commission's report echoes the case for change that we developed for APOH.

"Our plans include developing Urgent Care Centres at the Princess Royal University Hospital, Farnborough; Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich and University Hospital Lewisham, to treat the majority of current A&E patients, while expanding the Urgent Care Centre at Queen Mary's Hospital to provide round-the-clock care."

But the report revealed how Urgent Care Centres are not fully assessed and recommended a review of their targets, which currently only measure individual parts of the system.

Now the Commission will be working with all the 'least well performing' PCTs to develop plans to improve their performance.

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