Helen Zammett writes
WHO WILL BE RUNNING YOUR LOCAL NHS IN APRIL 2013?
The answer is your local GPs. The primary care trust which organised the local health service will be replaced by a GP Commissioning Group. Each Borough will have a committee made up of local GPs - one from each group of GPs, called polysystems and 2 lay members, one of which is responsible for representing the public's views. They will hold the budget for the health services provided for residents in their borough and make the decisions on how it should be spent.
WHAT PART CAN THE PUBLIC PLAY IN THE NEW ORGANISATION?
The organisation which represented the public's views on their local health service, the LINK, is being replaced Healthwatch, which is to involve the public in major decision making around local health services and social care.
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN OUR LOCAL HEALTH SERVICE HOSPITALS?
In December 2010 the decision was made to implement a plan, which originally was to close Accident and Emergency and Maternity together at King George Hospital [KGH] in Redbridge in April 2013. The KGH maternity unit is due to close in April 2013, with the births being moved to Queen's Hospital and Whipps Cross. However, for reasons outlined below, now there is no given date for the closure of KGH A+E. ACCIDENT AND EMERGENCY
· The primary reason for not closing the A+E at KGH is that the number of patients attending them and being admitted to emergency care, has made it not possible at present.
· From the end of October 2012 there has been a steady decline in the performance of Queens and KGH, which has seen only 60 - 65% of patients seen within 4 hours - the target achieved by many other hospitals is 95%.
KGH is doing better than Queens, where there have been waits of up to 11 hours.
· The underlying problem of the two A+E departments is that they serve a much larger population than other A+E units in NE London.
· Due to the pressure of patient numbers, Whipps A+E is now starting to have problems and were forced to purchase additional community beds recently.
· Population increases and the national trend for more people to go to A+E, means that more people will use A+E year on year.
· The fact that our local healthcare trust BHRUT [Barking, Dagenham Havering and Redbridge University Trust] has admitted that it has run out of contingency beds, underlines the seriousness of the problem. · Between 6 November 2012 and 3 February 2013 KGH and Queens had 439 ambulance cases which were not seen within 30 minutes - the second highest in London [1st Croydon with 500, 3rd Lewisham with 159]. MATERNITY
· The original plan proposed that women would go to their nearest maternity department, which would have meant that women would go to Queens, Whipps Cross and Newham hospitals.
· The plan was approved on the basis that a further maternity facility would be built, up and running at Whipps Cross before the KGH unit was closed. So far, this new facility has not even been approved for building by NHS London
. · Because of lack of capacity at Whipps, women from Waltham Forest will be redirected to the Homerton Hospital in Hackney.
· A cap of 8,000 births a year will be imposed on Queens, which had births of up to 10,500 recently. This means that 53 midwives will be lost from that hospital. Midwives are in chronic short supply in the NHS and have proved hard to recruit.
· Imposing the cap may be applied to other maternity units, which could cause long term capacity problems.
· Studies showed that the KGH maternity unit was a popular option for Redbridge women. When this closes, they will have less patient choice. With the 8,000 cap at Queens and no new unit at Whipps, short term capacity in NE London will be limited.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PUT YOUR VIEWS FORWARD
Speak, email or write to your GP Ask your GP to join their Patients Panel Speak or write to your GP representative on the Clinical Commissioning Group Speak, email or write to your MP Speak, email or write to your local councillor: Speak, email or write to the councillor who is Redbridge Cabinet Member for Health, Cllr John Fairley-Churchill, 0208 708 0205 email: firstname.lastname@example.org. 44 Green Lane, ILFORD IG1 1YL