Hospital service reconfiguration: the battle for hearts and mindsBMJ 2012; 344 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e953 (Published 16 February 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e953
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Sir or Madam,
Barratt and Raine ask if Andrew Lansley’s four tests for reconfiguration make decisions less controversial . GPs in Maidstone will claim definitely not. The reconfiguration of services in our area failed all four tests , spectacularly in the case of GP support—2 ballots demonstrated 98% of GPs against the proposals. These ballots were held at the time Lansley was announcing that , in his Health and Social Care Bill ,GPs would be “put in the driving seat”. Protests fell on deaf ears as the policy had been undemocratically decided , just as the arguments against the Bill are being ignored now. Overwhelming patient and public opinion against also went unrecognised , making a mockery of “no decision about me without me” . Lansley was informed of all this (not least in the House of Commons) but later said it was a “local” decision , and left the Acute Trust and the SHA to do as they wished , ignoring his four tests.
We now send our patients over 20 miles to a new 512 single-roomed £230 PFI in Tunbridge Wells, where within weeks of it’s opening in 2011 management announced the launch of it’s private wing. Maidstone Hospital has lost many of it’s facilities to help pay for the new hospital, a process started years ago that led to the scandal of 90 deaths from Clostridium Difficile. The new hospital is struggling already having been heavily criticised by the CQC this week , partly as the local health economy cannot afford it. Not many local doctors or patients are happy with a maverick Acute Trust that does what it feels like whilst an impotent PCT ineffectually looks on. Lansley’s “tests” are an irrelevance here.
The course for the NHS has been set both locally and Nationally without any mandate by politicians and managers who ignore opinion that is inconvenient to their cause. The great British public has been , and continues to be totally misled and manipulated.
Dr Paul Hobday
1 Hospital Services reconfiguration. The battle for hearts and minds.
Barratt and Raine BMJ 2012 ; 344: e953
Competing interests: Conflicting interest : GP in Maidstone for 30 years and defender of the founding principles of the NHS.