Surrey Downs votes to stop hospital restructuring

Pic: UK Ministry of Defence

Pic: UK Ministry of Defence

Plans for a major restructuring of hospital services in south London have been delayed after Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group withdrew their support on Friday.

The decision was taken after a Surrey Downs GP ballot voted against the plans by 110 votes to 37, with one abstention.

The remaining south London commissioning groups involved, including Croydon, are going back to the drawing board to reconfigure proposals.

The original plans, based on the recommendations of the Better Services Better Value review, included an option to downgrade Croydon University Hospital to a local hospital, which would involve the replacement of its accident and emergency department with an urgent care centre.

A spokesperson for the Croydon group said that changes would still take place, but that previous proposals are “no longer on the table.”

They added: “We’re clear that the problems we face haven’t gone away – no change is not a viable option. It is likely that we’ll bring forward new proposals as part of Call to Action.”

The NHS England ‘Call to Action’ initiative, launched in July this year, requires all clinical commissioning groups to submit a five-year action plans as part of a drive to engage with challenges facing the NHS.

A joint statement issued by the six groups that are continuing to work with Better Services Better Value said: “We are taking stock of the fact that Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group has chosen not to remain part of the BSBV programme, but we understand and respect their position.”

Dr Claire Fuller, GP and chair of the Surrey Downs group, said: “The ballot result has shown that GPs within our clinical commissioning group are not confident that the BSBV proposals are able to meet the needs of our local population.”

“This decision is not taken lightly or without due care and consideration of patients and colleagues in south west London but our responsibility has to be to our local patients.”

GP support for major service changes has been a topical issue for NHS service reform recently, as it became a point of significant legal contention in the Lewisham Hospital case earlier this year.

The Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group is expecting to announce new proposals in early 2014.


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