Sunday, February 17, 2013

Our (Redbridge) Local NHS in 2013

From the newsletter of the Wanstead & Snaresbrook Residents’ Alliance - the Carlton Terrace Residents’ Association, the Counties Residents’ Assocation and The Wanstead Society. Click for PDF.

Who Will Be Running Your Local NHS in April 2013?

The answer is your local GPs. The primary care trust which organised the local health service will be replaced by a GP Commissioning Group. Each Borough will have a committee made up of local GPs - one from each group of GPs, called polysystems and two lay members, one of which is responsible for representing the public's views. They will hold the budget for the health services provided for residents in their borough and make the decisions on how it should be spent.

What Part Can the Public Play in the New Organisation?

The organisation which represented the public's views on their local health service, the LINK, is being replaced by Healthwatch, which is to involve the public in major decision making around local health services and social care.

What is Happening in Our Local Health Service Hospitals?

In December 2010 the decision was made to implement a plan, which originally was to close Accident and Emergency and Maternity together at King George Hospital [KGH] in Redbridge in April 2013. The KGH maternity unit is due to close in April 2013, with the births being moved to Queen's Hospital and Whipps Cross. However, for reasons outlined below, now there is no given date for the closure of KGH A+E.

Accident and Emergency

  • The primary reason for not closing the A+E at KGH is that the number of patients attending them and being admitted to emergency care, has made it not possible at present.
  • From the end of October 2012 there has been a steady decline in the performance of Queens and KGH, which has seen only 60 - 65% of patients seen within 4 hours - the target achieved by many other hospitals is 95%. KGH is doing better than Queens, where there have been waits of up to 11 hours. 
  • The underlying problem of the two A+E departments is that they serve a much larger population than other A+E units in NE London. 
  • Due to the pressure of patient numbers, Whipps A+E is now starting to have problems and were forced to purchase additional community beds recently. 
  • Population increases and the national trend for more people to go to A+E, means that more people will use A+E year on year. 
  • The fact that our local healthcare trust BHRUT [Barking, Dagenham Havering and Redbridge University Trust] has admitted that it has run out of contingency beds, underlines the seriousness of the problem.


  • The original plan proposed that women would go to their nearest maternity department, which would have meant that women would go to Queens, Whipps Cross and Newham hospitals.
  • The plan was approved on the basis that a further maternity facility would be built, up and running at Whipps Cross before the KGH unit was closed. So far, this new facility has not even been approved for building by NHS London.
  • Because of lack of capacity at Whipps, women from Waltham Forest will be redirected to the Homerton Hospital in Hackney.
  • A cap of 8,000 births a year will be imposed on Queens, which had births of up to 10,500 recently. This means that 53 midwives will be lost from that hospital. Midwives are in chronic short supply in the NHS and have proved hard to recruit.
  • Imposing the cap may be applied to other maternity units, which could cause long term capacity problems.
  • Studies showed that the KGH maternity unit was a popular option for Redbridge women. When this closes, they will have less patient choice. With the 8,000 cap at Queens and no new unit at Whipps, short term capacity in NE London will be limited.

If You Would Like to Put Your Views Forward You Can Contact:-

Your GP and ask to join their Patients Panel

Dr Sarah Heyes, the Clinical Director for the Wanstead polysystems and the Wanstead representative on the GP Commissioning Group. Shrubberies practice address and tel: The Shrubberies Medical Centre, 12 The Shrubberies, George Lane, South Woodford, LONDON, E18 1BD: 020 8989 5249 [if you are not Wanstead then she should be able to put you in touch with your polysystems rep]

Your MP [find your MP here]

Redbridge Cabinet Member for Health, Cllr John Fairley-Churchill, 44 Green Lane, Ilford, Essex IG1 1YL, 020 8708 0205.

Your local councillors [find your local councillors here]

Editor: This is a subject that will affect everyone in Redbridge, sooner or later. Maybe we should have a Redbridge Residents’ Alliance, but then these things tend not to work too well. There is a Redbridge Residents’ Network and a Redbridge Neighbourhood Watch Network, but neither of them seem to be very effective at networking. That’s where you come in. There are many local groups all over Redridge whose officers are plugged in here. Health services may not be your primary concern but they affect your members whether they belong to a Historical Society, a pensioners group, a neighbourhood watch or a park friends group etc. You have a mailing list – please use it.


  1. A complete and utter shambles created by overpaid, incompetent twerps who should have been sacked a long time ago. How do we sack them? That's what I want to know.

  2. It's called a 'General Election', mate, and unfortunately it's a very long way off.
    Meanwhile, since they've turned all the poachers into gamekeepers - in fairness, I must add, entirely against their will, the 'poachers', that is - we're just going to have to put up with it. Every change of government, even it seems if the same party gets in, sees a radical change in the NHS. They just can't leave it alone, can they? All that power and all the money at stake goes straight to their heads. You can't win really, whichever way you vote; they'll always be another Andrew Lansley, blue or red, it just doesn't matter! Just carry on crying into your pillow.

  3. You are quite right that the Redbridge Residents' Network has not been actively networking but we have found that there is so much apathy and the reluctance of groups, particularly residents associations to link up. Any suggestions would be most welcome.

    1. Maybe they already have their own informal network? We do!

    2. My experience is that if you want to establish links you may need to go to "them". "They" will not necessarily come to you.

  4. What about your local Links Group?

    1. Yes we are linked in with the local LINk lady.

  5. Just got my Redbridge newsletter thingy whatever it is called. Interesting articles on changes to public health and health from April, and about the 111 service.

    I wonder if we are losing the plot. Canada seems to have worked out things in a very interesting way.

    "The key feature of primary health care reform is a shift to teams of providers who are accountable for providing comprehensive services to their clients.

    There is a growing consensus that family physicians, nurses, and other professionals working as partners will result in better health, improved access to services, more efficient use of resources, and better satisfaction for both patients and providers.

    Such teams are well positioned to focus on health promotion and improving the management of chronic disease. This team approach, along with telephone advice lines, facilitates access to primary health care services after-hours, reducing the need for costly emergency room visits.

    Other technologies can support information-sharing among providers so that Canadians need not repeat their health histories or undergo the same tests for every health care professional they see. In these ways, all aspects of personal care are brought together in a coordinated way.

    Presently, relatively few Canadians access primary health care services in this way. All provinces and territories are implementing plans for primary health care reform, with funding support from the federal Primary Health Care Transition Fund. Each jurisdiction is undertaking its own approach but some common areas of focus have emerged:

    *The creation of primary health care teams and organizations which are responsible for providing comprehensive services to their clients (including coordination with other levels of care);

    *The creation or enhancement of telephone advice lines to provide 24-hour first-contact services;

    *Improvements in the management of chronic diseases (which account for a large portion (40-70% according to various estimates) of health care system costs);

    *a greater emphasis on health promotion and illness/injury prevention;
    voluntary participation by providers and patients alike;

    *capacity-building in evaluation, so that system performance may be monitored; and

    *an explicit focus on change management activities to support all of the above."

    We are not doing this. 111 will not be staffed by trained medical staff, it will not be local, where there is the reality that staff will build up histories of clients and be able to respond appropriately.

    Public health going to the Local Authority is actually introducing a new bureaucratic division.

    GPs do not really work on a geographic patch basis, where everyone in a few streets is known in detail and care support action and life plans have been worked out and implemented.

    For example if a mum calls 111 at 3;;00 in the morning about their baby, will a district nurse or highly qualified health assistant call on her the next morning? Why not?

    Are we really building the census and statistical databases that will help communities understand their health issues and take appropriate action?

    This is how health services are developing in many parts of the world, with "community health workers" as critically important.

    Why does this not seem to be on the agenda here? These are not new fangled ideas!