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Dr Helen Tattersfield: We have not been listened to

Jeremy Hunt’s decision to reduce Lewisham A&E failed to take into account the views of clinicians and is ultimately unworkable, says Lewisham CCG chair Dr Helen Tattersfield

I am not at all pleased and I am very disappointed. It is what everyone inevitably thought he would do. We had hoped for better. We gave very sound arguments about why the process was flawed and why the decision was dangerous. They were reasoned arguments but none of them have been listened to.

If you read the decision, there is no more than a slightly tweaked urgent care centre. It is still not safe, it doesn’t address any of our concerns about fragmentation, it doesn’t address maternity services, concerns about paediatrics or mental health.

He keeps on saying it will not make any difference to travel time but we proved very differently. Hunt tried to make out he listened and therefore made it better and it will cost more money, but it is political speak and not genuine.

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It isn’t a real solution. It is made to look like it is an improvement but in reality it is not something that will work and it doesn’t address any of the concerns. Lewisham Hospital does not think it is safe or will produce anything that is affordable.

Sir Bruce Keogh said the decision had sufficient clinical input. But the clinical advisory group was not allowed to vote on anything and anything that Lewisham clinicians said was not listened to.

We are dedicated professional people who are concerned about the needs of our residents. So our main priority is to mitigate and ensure their care and we will continue to develop local services as much as possible.

But as individual members of the exec team and our views on clinical commissioning, we will be reviewing our situation and will come to a decision when we have had a chance to do so collectively. But that is not or today.

Dr Helen Tattersfield is chair of Lewisham CCG

Readers' comments (4)

  • "No decision about me without me"; well for this CCG,it's local patients, GP practices and even Lewisham NHS Trust which part of this NHS Reform policy statement do you think is missing?

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  • Vinci Ho

    (1) you guys have my full admiration and respect to defend your principle and ground
    (2) you need to get more people's attention on the matter . The media could be an evil twisting the truth so often but you need more exposure on the media for this matter . Use an evil to fight against the bigger evil
    (3) While one can say we are only the 'employees' of the government , we have the duty to check on the government to ensure it is NOT harming the best interests of our patients . Hence , standing up against this goverent is one of our responsibilities
    (4)Petition , demonstration etc . Get more attentions as possible....
    (5) Best of luck ? You may set an example for other CCGs from 1st of April......

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  • Do the honourable thing, individually and collectively, and lead by example. If you are brave enough to set the precedent, others will follow in the battles to come and the public will then start to see that we, collectively have their interests and our NHS at heart. Remember,
    "First, do no harm....."

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  • I think that your actions are very brave - what has happened in Lewisham exposes the lie of GPs being 'in control'. We are excepted to be the saviour of the NHS on the one hand and then will be the scapegoat for all that goes wrong on the other. It appears that GPs will have control over their peers - stopping referrals before they have happened but on 'important' issues such as the Lewisham issue - decisions will be taken elsewhere.

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