James Brokenshire has called for an independent re-examination of the controversial 'A Picture of Health' plans for local hospitals after a review commissioned by local health mangers endorsed the proposals. The Bexley Bromely and Greenwich 'Clinical Cabinet' gave the plans which strip Queen Mary's Sidcup of accident and emergency and maternity services their approval despite admitting serious concerns over reductions in patient choice for Bexley residents.
Commenting James Brokenshire said:
"I place absolutely no weight on this report. It lacks the perception of independence, given that the chair of the group has been a keen advocate of APOH from the outset and was part of the review team recommending the 'temporary' closures at Queen Mary's. It purports to recognise the serious concerns of patient choice and access to services in Bexley yet then completely discounts these issues as apparently irrelevant in a wider London context. It is set against a backdrop of the hospital trust having decided to close key services effectively setting the framework for the outcomes.
"For there to be confidence in any reassessment it should be conducted on an external basis from those involved in the original decision. The Independent Reconfiguration Panel should undertake this work. This was what was promised by NHS London and this is what should happen. However, even this process risks being subverted if services have already been withdrawn presenting an effective fait accompli."