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CCGs drop major review of hospital services following GP pressure

CCGs in south west London have scrapped plans to review hospital services in the region, after their plans to close a local A&E department and maternity ward were dropped following opposition from local GPs.

The review of services – led by Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Sutton, Wandsworth, Surrey Downs and Sutton CCGs – had originally recommended the closure of St Helier A&E department and its maternity ward.

However, Sutton and Surrey Downs CCGs pulled out last year after balloting GPs, who overwhelmingly voted against the closures.

This week, the remaining CCGs said they would not be continuing with the ‘Better Services, Better Value’ review, and will instead develop a new five-year strategy for local health services.

A statement from the chairs of the remaining CCGs said: ‘We do not propose to continue with our BSBV programme or to consult on the options that emerged from it, which have now been withdrawn.’

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‘But we do know that we need to continue to work together to drive up the quality of local health services in a way that is acceptable to our patients.’

‘There are no easy answers and we know change will be needed.’

The decision follows the case in south east London, where health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s decision to downgrade the A&E at Lewisham Hospital was thrown out of the courts, partly because it failed to garner the support of GP commissioners.