latest health care news

01.02.13

Lewisham decision ‘delaying the inevitable’ – 2020health

Healthcare policy professionals have responded with concern to the announcement that Lewisham will retain its A&E department.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has accepted the broad recommendations of Special Trust Administrator Matthew Kershaw and South London Healthcare NHS Trust is to be dissolved by October.

There is some consensus on the view that the failure process did not take long enough to consider local people’s views on the reconfiguration, but others warn of the damage that could be inflicted by failing to implement Kershaw’s recommendations in full.

2020health suggested that the recommendations were “not a pick-and-mix list” that Hunt could implement in part.

Julia Manning, chief executive of the think tank 2020health said: “They were developed to be taken as a whole to stop the haemorrhaging of money out of the NHS and ensure the people of South East London have the best clinical care possible for years to come.”

She added that Hunt was “sadly delaying the inevitable” with Lewisham A&E, which could increase costs.

“Unfortunately sentimentality and politics have left us with a solution that is unsustainable in the long term and will have to be revisited yet again in the future.”

NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar said that discussion and clinical advice on such large scale reorganisations could avoid “trench warfare” and added: “Where the evidence shows that change will save lives or improve experience and outcomes for the population, we should expect political support.

“Quality needs to be the main driving force behind any change. Delivering long-term improvements requires a joined-up, whole-system solution rather than looking at one organisation in isolation.”

Chris Ham, chief executive of The King’s Fund, agreed that change was necessary for the failing trust but warned that “the failure regime should be used as a last resort and must not become a back-door route for reconfiguring hospital services”.

He said: “With a number of other trusts also facing serious financial challenges, it is vital that, wherever possible, these problems are resolved before it becomes necessary to invoke the failure process – this will require stronger political leadership than we have seen in the past.”

The current timetable for the failure process was not long enough to properly consult local people, Ham added.

Rehana Azam, GMB National Office for NHS warned: “This Government is now presiding over the downfall, break up and privatisation of the NHS. As people will have to travel further to access services, particularly urgent care in built up areas with congested roads, lives will be put at risk.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@nationalhealthexecutive.com

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now beyond more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News

comment

Turning blue lights green

11/04/2019Turning blue lights green

Polly Billington, director of UK100, a cities network that campaigns on env... more >
Going back to school at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

10/04/2019Going back to school at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Steve Hams, director of quality and chief nurse at Gloucestershire Hospital... more >

interviews

How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to s... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

System working in an uncertain world

09/05/2019System working in an uncertain world

What, exactly, is an integrated care system? Well, it’s unclear, writes Kacey Cogle, policy advisor at NHS Providers. On the NHS England website, integrated care sy... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >