Monday, March 29, 2010

The Independent Review

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Last week on Wednesday 24th March the Minister of State for Health Services, Mike O’Brien, visited Redbridge. He announced that there will be an Independent Review of the North East London Healthcare proposals to relocate Accident & Emergency and Maternity facilities from King George Hospital to Queens in Romford.

This has come about due to the concerted pressure from local residents, Councillors and MPs of all parties. In particular I would like to mention Bill Howe, Andy Walker, Wilson Chowdhry, Cllr Mrs Loraine Sladden and MP Lee Scott. But "vfmctax" is not impressed. He/she writes on the Council run forum [now closed]:

so was this independant panel elected at the general election? "no" is the answer. so once again, the government which was elected to run the country and make the decisions is abdicating it's responsibilities so that it can say "don't blame us, we acted on advice."

I dare say that the residents over in Islington who have the same problem with Whittington Hospital would be delighted with similar treatment.

That said, I do have some sympathy with vfmctax. This was supposed to be, and was marketed as, a Clinician led exercise. So, to now have the proposals “pored over by a panel of clinicians and health experts” does seem rather bizarre. I have been here myself. It seemed to start, for me, around the mid to late 80s. Prior to that I had progressed up the greasy pole with some ease being regarded as an "expert" in my own field and being listened to. But then it all changed. I would tell the boss what needed to be done. She/he [for there were some females] would then bring in a bunch of Consultants. The Consultants would ask me what needed to be done. I would tell them. They would then tell my boss with a glossy brochure. She/he would then act upon “their” advice. I would change jobs. When I got fed up with changing jobs I retired at the grand old age of 47. Je ne regrette rien.

At the end of the day it comes down to who you trust. There are times when you need a second opinion or specific expert advice. This is a matter of judgement, an indefinable attribute that can be recognised but not easily quantified. On the other hand there is also political expediency in the face of an election in a marginal constituency.

Forgot to mention: We have to keep up the pressure, this is not over yet. The next Rally is on Saturday 17th April and starts at 1:15pm from Little Heath Green, outside Redbridge College, and will march to the Town Hall.


  1. Some off the cuff comments on this: Ilford Sth isn't a marginal constituency - its under some threat from the LibDems, but Mr Gapes probably has little to fear.

    Ilford Nth is a long way down the list of marginals, and given the very poor quality of the Labour candidate and Mr Scott's own dedicated (and honest) commitment since '05, his incumbency is likely to be fairly safe.

    Mrs Hodge in Barking certainly has a big problem with the BNP, but being fair, I can't imagine she wants to see her electorate being further deprived of NHS treatment by a downgrading of KGH.

    It is worth noting that none of the MPs involved in this group effort took political pops at each other, but worked together to get this (?temporary) halt.

    Is it a good idea to get a peer review of a proposed massive change? Well, yes, although I take your point about management consultants. The previous attempt to reposition NHS care (Fit for the Future) was seen off by a peer review led by Prof Alberti, a highly-respected medical specialist. ''Woods' and 'trees' spring to mind.

  2. Hi, Ed

    Have you seen this news item?

    Warning on death rates at 25 NHS trusts in England: Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust is top of the list!

    Do you get the feeling that senior managers need to be sacked before they destroy KGH and reduce Redbridge NHS to a cemetary waiting room?

  3. How can you be "top" of a worst list?