A letter from Paul Evans, Radiographer, to his MP Michael Fallon
Dear Mr Fallon
You may recall I have sent you a couple of emails about the South London Hospitals trust special administrator (TSA) preliminary proposal to cut the services at Lewisham hospital.
I have now read most of the literature and would like to make a few points which I would request you pass onto the secretary of state on my behalf.
Firstly during the consultation I emailed a number of questions such as the validity of some of the data (eg travelling times, where the data came from and how this data is interpreted), what outpatient and diagnostic services the TSA was proposing to keep at Lewisham (as they have been very specific with their proposals), how would these fit in with the planned site disposal and why sell the new a&e anyway after it’s major refit, when it could be utilised in the new proposal.
I did not receive any reply. I chased a week later with no luck and then asked about it at a staff meeting with Mr Kershaw – who assured me I would get a response the next day, needless to say I didn’t and have not had any answer to these questions, inspite of further emails asking for it.
How are we meant to make a reasoned response during a consultation period when we cannot get answers to questions that ought to be readily to hand?
I would also like to point out that chapter 9 of the recommendations I found highly insulting and offensive to all current nhs employees. To be honest I am surprised that someone with the intelligence of Mr Kershaw allowed such a piece out. This chapter is nothing more than propaganda in my opinion.
The consultation document has a response form which again I believe is purposefully leading to try to get the answers the TSA want, whereas any such document should surely be totally neutral to allow a sensible repesentative response.
I understand the need for change – but this seems very rushed and not thought out at all well.
The proposal contains assumptions such as a 30% reduction in hospital visits due to increased community care and yet Lewisham already does a lot in the community so such gains will probably not be achievable.
Assumptions as to productivity for the new proposals are (I’m told) not achievable. Selling the Lewisham site will make it impossible to go back to the current system when this fails.
I personally would suggest making a small change such as dissolving the SLHT and then spending a bit longer with the new partys to assess clinical need across the area and do a proper impact study. If a new 10 theatre elective centre is the way to go why not build a new one to enhance the area?
Mr Kershaw states how much he respects the Lewisham management, perhaps he should show it by letting them organise what is best for the local residents.
If the secretary of state does agree to these proposals it will be a travesty, I have not found anyone yet who supports them and ask that rather than simply rubber stamping them he looks at what it means to the local population, rather than what the TSA says it means.
Yes I am angry, I love the people of Lewisham and I cannot help but feel sad they are being asked to take on such a burden. I cannot imagine one of my elderly or deprived patients having to got to Woolwich for an operation, their family and friends probably will not be able to visit them, how unfair is that?