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.
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