Conservatives attend Charlton NHS Consultation

Local Conservatives attend Charlton NHS Consultation
by Thomas Turrell

On Monday 3rd December, Deputy Chairman of Greenwich Conservatives, Thomas Turrell and Gemma Robinson attended the consultation meeting on South London NHS trust’s proposals from the Special Administrator. The Trust Special Administrator was called in July 2012 following the news it was losing £1 million pounds every day. This dramatic overspending could not go on.  The meeting was held at Charlton Athletics Football ground, the Valley.

The meeting began with a video outlining the major changes to the South London NHS. The video explained that as the NHS works as a unit and not a collection of NHS Trusts, therefore the changes to the South London Trust affected not just the Boroughs of Bromley, Bexley and Greenwich but also the Boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham and the roles of hospital across these areas change.  

Residents in the room quickly raised their concerns with the proposed closures of Lewisham A&E and possible closure of Lewisham Maternity unit. Although the consultation was for the local residents of Charlton, Greenwich and Woolwich the residents were concerned that new flow of patients from Lewisham A&E to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich and whether this would add strain and stress to the staff. The Administrator said he understood the concern but was confident the new model would avoid any strain on the local NHS, he referred to the Video about the roles of all hospitals across the six boroughs will be changing.

Thomas, a Former NHS public Governor said “to me the problem with the old trust was that the public were not able to be engaged and the Trust was not held to account” and asked the Administrator “Is there any plan to have publically elected Council of Governors in the new trust to hold the new board to account?.” The Administrator replied saying he fully agreed with Thomas on the accountability front, saying he has a Chief Executive of an NHS Trust without Foundation Trust Status (like South London Trust, so had no Governors nor members) and of a Foundation Trust and found himself more accountable and more connected with the public at the Foundation Trust as all FT’s are required to have members and a Council of Governors. In answer to the question the administrator said there were no plans to recommend the new trust ne a Foundation Trust but all NHS trusts are supposed to aim for FT status, so in the long term he would hope to see a membership based and Council of Governors established.

At the end Gemma spoke to the administrator and raised to the important issue of public awareness, Gemma highlighted that the consultation was not very well publicised and therefore in future would it be possible for the administrator to put leaflets around the local area telling them of the changes. The Administrator agreed to put out more correspondence around the final changes to ensure the public is fully informed of changes!