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Thank you for seeking more information about the future of our local hospital, St Helier.

As you may have heard on the news recently, the Better Services Better Value (BSBV) review will now not be going out to public consultation. This is good news, but the future of St Helier hospital is not secure yet.

I will give you a brief history. The BSBV review, a local South London review, conducted by some clinicians, recommended changing the shape of health services in South West London. This included centralising essential and life-saving services in order to improve quality and safety and so that high quality care could be provided seven days a week. The review recommended concentrating A & E and maternity in 3 hospitals. The theory behind this was that it would enable there to be more consultants available for longer hours, meaning that lives would be saved. St Helier hospital was ear-marked by BSBV to lose its A & E and maternity.

In my view, the process that led to this recommendation was flawed. This recommendation was made without necessary data, with insufficient information about travel times and was based upon expanded community health services that are not even built, let alone providing a service yet.

Local people, especially those who are from more deprived areas, who cannot afford taxis or with a predisposition to poor health, need a local A&E that is easily accessible.

I have been campaigning against these flawed recommendations with local groups: organising petitions, meeting with the BSBV team, Ministers and the local Clinical Commissioning Group. I have also distributed 10,000 postcards across Carshalton and Wallington asking people to show their support for St Helier.

Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group (SDCCG) has now announced its intention to withdraw from BSBV due to a lack of support from the Surrey GPs for the proposals. This makes the BSBV pre consultation business case invalid. The BSBV consultation will now not proceed. However, Sutton GPs will still be meeting shortly and the Better Services Better Value team will be revising their proposals, which they plan to publish in the New Year. It is vital that our GPs understand our opposition to the original plans, so that any suggested alternatives do not threaten St Helier's services.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter (@thomasbrake) I will post campaign activities if you want to get involved. To get involved in the BSBV consultation you can follow the progress on Twitter (#BSBV) via Facebook http://www.facebook.com/BetterServicesBetterValue or via the website http://www.southwestlondon.nhs.uk/Haveyoursay and click on Better Services Better Value.

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