Two letters that I have obtained through a Freedom Of Information (FOI) request show how Mid & South Essex Success Regime misled the public and politicians about their plans to downgrade Southend’s and Broomfield’s A&E departments and create a ‘super centre’ at Basildon.
The Success Regime, now renamed the Sustainability & Transformation Partnership (STP) after its failure to have any successes, claimed all along that it’s plans were “clinician-led” whilst knowing full well from at least 15th Decemeber, 2016 when the ALG or Acute Leadership Group meeting mentioned in the letter took place – exactly 1 year ago – that senior consultants at all three hospitals involved had voiced their opposition to, and concerns about, many of the proposals.
The First Page From the Consultants’ Letter
Save Southend A&E campaigned intensively to bring these plans to the public’s attention, winning massive backing from the people of Southend as well as support from politicians from virtually all political parties including Sir David Amess MP. The notable exception here was Rochford & Southend East MP James Duddridge who stood firm by hid government’s line of implementing these massive cuts to our NHS.
The Letter Signed by 29 Consultants from Southend, Basildon & Broomfields
Download the full letter here: Letter to ESR from the ED consultants FOI 17-123
Reply from Success Regime: Letter to ED consultants 30 06 17 FOI 17-123
Finally, after huge pressure, the Success Regime backtracked on its plan to downgrade our A&E.
We now face a new set of proposals which appear to be just as badly thought out and with the same aim of cutting over £400 million from health spending across Mid & South Essex.
Already we have seen three of the five heads of the region’s Clinical Commissioning Groups refuse to back these plans and abstain from voting in favour of them at Joint CCG STP Committee meeting on 29th November.
Despite their objections that the plans simply didn’t add up and there was a massive unaccounted for hole in the social care budget, the new STP were forced through to the public consultation stage.
There have also been serious fears raised about other areas with Dr Caroline Howard, the lead consultant of Southend A&E, saying “They are proposing that patients suffering from Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease and are on breathing machines are transferred from A&E to Basildon” and declaring “The is the most dangerous thing I have heard about in my life!”
It is my understanding that many consultants have again been bypassed and their opinions not sought.
The public need to keep on top of these plans. Save Southend NHS Campaign will be thoroughly scrutinising these plans. At last night’s Southend Borough Council meeting one Councillor – James Moyies (Con – West Shoebury) – said “there should be no more silly campaigns and that reconfiguration equalled progression.” Can he really believe that?
We will be holding a march and rally in Southend on 27th January, 2018 to voice our opposition to these cuts to OUR NHS. I hope you can join us there – for more details see HERE. In May, a thousand people marched down Southend High St. to help stop the downgrade to our A&E – help us protect our health service again!
© Can Stock Photo/maxxyustas