First of all, can I wish you and your family a very happy new year
I am writing to you with a further update about the future of Epsom Hospital.
The Better Services Better Value process, which is the review of services across South West London, has now extended to Epsom and the assessment work is beginning.
I have to say that the whole process is unsatisfactory, and will be unacceptable to residents in our area. I am now planning to step up campaigning against what is happening.
The most fundamental problem that we face is that this is no longer a political process, but one that is being driven by GPs across South West London. I believe that it is right that doctors should take decisions about local services, but the problem is that doctors in Surrey are getting virtually no say in what is happening. The future of Epsom is being decided by GPs in five London boroughs, something I believe is not acceptable.
Epsom is being subjected to a review that was designed to meet the needs of SW London, and where the final decision making will be subject to a vote of NHS doctors groups in five London boroughs, plus Mid Surrey – in other words we only have one vote out of 6. The intention of the review team is to reach a decision by March, and then go to public consultation in April.
I have already received complaints from some local GPs in Surrey that they believe that they have no say in what is happening, and that they are being asked to approve pre-ordained plans. But some of our local GPs are strongly in favour of change – so opinions are divided.
To compound the issue, the review team are continuing to use figures for the level of deficit at Epsom in their presentations to, for example, London councils, that we know are now not accurate. The danger is that Epsom is written off on a false prospectus, and without the chance to really see if there is an alternative for it separate to St Helier.
There are a number of things that people locally can help with.