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Your questions answered...

PUBLISHED: 16:38 12 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:28 25 August 2010

IN the second instalment of your questions answered by A Picture of Health, we put to them YOUR questions about the proposed changes to hospitals in the area.

IN the second instalment of your questions answered by A Picture of Health, we put to them YOUR questions about the proposed changes to hospitals in the area.

n In the consultation, there is a reference to 'community places' in each of the three options. The phrase 'community places' does not appear anywhere else in the handbook. What exactly are these 111, 66 or 254 community places?

Peter Lovell

Hayes Road

Bromley

A spokesman for A Picture of Health said: "'Community places' is a way of explaining that people who would currently be treated in hospital, in beds, would be treated in the community or even their homes in the future. It will involve more community services such as community matrons being developed to help keep people healthy, reduce the need for admission into hospital and support discharge."

Are the three options we are given for Queen Mary's hospital identical i.e. in fact we have no choice about what happens to that hospital?

Ron Bingham

A spokesman for A Picture of Health said: "Yes, the range of services at Queen Mary's is the same in all three options. Queen Mary's will be a hospital specialising in planned surgery and other services such as outpatients, antenatal and postnatal care, assessment and diagnostic services and a range of primary, community, social and mental health services."

Why, when we have paid our taxes all our life are we expected to travel further to get to an A&E? I wouldn't know how to travel to the other hospitals. It is about time that the government listen to us.

Mrs Long

Blackfen

Sidcup

A spokesman for A Picture of Health said: "The reason for concentrating A&E services onto fewer sites is primarily to build up larger staff teams. This will enable doctors to specialise more and A&E departments will have more highly experienced doctors than now on duty at any one time. This will make A&E safer. The four hospitals do not currently have adequate numbers of consultants, experienced doctors and nurses on the staff for treating life threatening conditions, and also do not meet the Royal College of Surgeons' guidance on the minimum catchment size for a safe major A&E service.

"However, all of the hospital sites, including Queen Mary's, will have an Urgent Care Centre. This will see a majority of the people currently attending A&E. For example, it will treat sprains, broken bones, take X-Rays and give stitches. But the average wait will be shorter than now."

When will the changes start?

Geoff Handel

Bickley

A spokesman for A Picture of Health said: "The public consultation closes in the week beginning April 7. We will then wait for the full independent report on the consultation from Imperial College in June. We will hold a public event about this as well.

"In the summer, the Joint Committee of the Primary Care Trusts (Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lewisham and West Kent) will meet in public to make a decision on the way forward.

"Implementation can then be planned, and a programme of informing the public of the detail of when the changes will start will be developed once we know the decision.

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