Today I received a reply from the Department of Health following my letter to Andrew Lansley (Secretary of State for Health) regarding the closure of vital services at King George Hospital. The full text of the response is provided below:
Dear Mr Singh Bola,
Thank you for your correspondence of 31 May to Andrew Lansley about the closure of emergency services at King George Hospital. I have been asked to reply.
This Government has pledged that, in future, all service changes must be led by clinicians and patients, not be driven from the top down.
You may be aware the Secretary of State for Health has outlined new, strengthened criteria he expects decisions on NHS service changes to meet. These criteria are:
-support from GP commissioners;
-arrangements for public and patient engagement, including local authorities being further strengthened;
-greater clarity about the clinical evidence bases underpinning proposals; and
-proposals taking into account the need to develop and support patient choice
As you know, the local NHS has revisited proposals for King George Hospital under the Health for North East London scheme. The Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts met in public on 15 December 2010 to consider proposals for urgent and emergency care, maternity, children’s services and the vision for King George Hospital .
The Committee approved the proposals for change against the four tests and NHS London is assured that the four tests have been met.
As part of the local overview and scrutiny process, this scheme was referred to the Secretary of State for Health. On 9 February, the Secretary of State wrote to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP), asking it to consider whether a full review of the Health for North East London scheme was required. Following receipt of that advice, the Secretary of State has asked the IRP to undertake a full review and to report back to him by 22 July. He will then consider its recommendations.
I hope this reply is helpful.
Customer Service Centre
Department of Health