James Brokenshire has said that a report to the Board of NHS London recommending that the 'A Picture of Health' plans for local hospitals satisfied new Government tests was "utterly predictable". But the MP underlined that this was far from the end of the line for Queen Mary's Hospital.
The Board of NHS London meets on 15 November to consider whether 'A Picture of Health' satisfies new criteria for hospital reorganisations. The Coalition Government introduced four new tests by which all significant hospital changes would be reassessed. These comprised:
1. Support from GP commissioners will be essential;
2. Arrangements for public and patient engagement, including local authorities should be further strengthened;
3. There should be greater clarity about the clinical evidence base underpinning proposals;
4. That proposals should take into account the need to develop and support patient choice.
A report to NHS London will suggest that 'A Picture of Health' satisfies the four tests, although any final decision will need to be made by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley who visited Queen Mary's last week.
Commenting James Brokenshire:
"The fact that NHS London have been recommended to approve APOH is probably one of the least surprising events to have occurred in this whole process. These plans haven't been re-named by some as 'A Picture of Stealth' for nothing and NHS executives have invested too much of their time and reputations over the years to do anything other than try and drive these plans through whatever the opposition and whatever the potential consequences.
"The Health Secretary however has made it abundantly clear however that he does not feel bound in any way by any decision which NHS London may seek to take. Therefore, this utterly predictable development doesn't really change anything at all. It is still very up to the Health Secretary to decide what happens with hospital services in this part of London and what happens with Queen Mary's Sidcup."