You will remember that my Surrey MP colleagues and I carried out a ballot of local GPs in the summer which showed a majority opposed to the proposal by NHS doctors in London to downgrade Epsom Hospital. After a lot of pressure, the local Clinical Commissioning Group, which is the local GP committee that decides which services will be provided locally, has decided to hold its own ballot. This will happen in the next few days.
Perhaps more significant still, the Governing body of the Clinical Commissioning Group is making it clear that it is not convinced that the proposals for reorganising hospital services, called Better Services Better Value, will actually mean better services in Surrey. In its letter it says “The Governing Body fully acknowledges that BSBV proposes the highest standards of care for London services. However, that shared ambition must be balanced with the needs of Surrey and the current BSBV proposals may not offer the only or best solution for local patients.”
So I am quite hopeful that the GPs will again vote against the proposals for Epsom. If that happens, the Better Services Better Value programme will be dead, and these proposals will have to be scrapped.
So apart from keeping your fingers crossed, can I urge you that if you have the chance, you ask your local GP to vote against the plan to downgrade Epsom.
Along with this, the financial position at Epsom Hospital has improved significantly, and there is chance now that the Epsom and St Helier Trust might be able to get what is called foundation status, which would mean that it would be in a much stronger position to resist proposals to downgrade the services it provides in future.