8 March 2012
Doctors, nurses, other healthcare professionals and patient representatives across south west London are currently engaged in a review of healthcare in the area.
Better Services Better Value is looking at how we can improve the quality of healthcare across south west London, as well as becoming more efficient to cope with increasing demand.
Our staff have been part of this review since it started and our doctors have helped draw up 'clinical reports' which look at the challenges facing healthcare across south west London.
There are a number of 'headline' recommendations in the reports, which were published on 1 March 2012. These include:
Having three A&E departments in south west London rather than the current four (at St Helier, St George's, Kingston and Croydon hospitals), each with an integrated urgent care centre (UCC). A fourth stand-alone UCC which could treat up to 70% of patients currently seen at A&E, is also proposed;
Having three maternity units in south west London rather than the current four (at St Helier, St George's, Kingston and Croydon hospitals), though clinicians do not rule out the possibility of a stand-alone midwife-led unit. The three units would be co-located with emergency departments;
Having a dedicated planned care centre for elective surgery, keeping it separate from emergency care. This would help stop emergencies disrupting planned operations;
Significantly increasing services in the community, with more healthcare being delivered in GP surgeries, community settings and people's homes, including support for people with long term conditions such as diabetes and asthma.
No decisions have been made
Matthew Hopkins, Trust Chief Executive, said: "It is extremely important to remember that these are clinical recommendations for the NHS across the whole of south west London and that absolutely no decisions have been made.
"Furthermore, any proposals for changing services will be subject to full legal, public consultation."
St Helier - a thriving hospital
Matthew added: "St Helier is a thriving, clinically successful hospital and we offer our patients a good standard of care.
"We are one of the safest 21 NHS trusts in the country and in February 2012 passed a Care Quality Commission inspection with flying colours.
"St Helier is popular with local people, treats more than 400,000 patients a year and the A&E and maternity departments are both vibrant, treating more patients year-on-year.
"Whilst it is true that these departments at St Helier may treat less people than at Kingston, Croydon or St George's hospitals each year, this does not mean that they are any more 'at risk' as part of the review.
"This is because the review will take into account the quality of the services provided at each hospital, the performance of the individual departments and the trusts that run them, their locations and the respective journey times to and from them, and, importantly, the experiences of patients."
Redeveloping St Helier
We continue to remain absolutely committed to the £219 million redevelopment of the hospital.
We know it continues to receive the highest level of support from our partners, including our strategic health authority NHS London, local GPs, MPs, other local NHS partners, and - fundamentally - our staff, patients and local people.
It is extremely important to note that the doctors, nurses and other clinicians leading the Better Services Better Value review have agreed - no matter what the final outcome will be for the NHS across south west London - that the £219 million redevelopment of St Helier must go ahead. It is considered a 'fixed point'.
Moreover, the review will ensure that there are enough patients using the hospital to make the redevelopment affordable.