For well over a year now, the NHS has been conducting a review into how it will provide key hospital services across south west London, a process it has branded “Better Services, Better Value”.
The objective of the process is to close two of the five A&E departments and maternity units serving the Croydon, Sutton, Kingston, Merton and North Surrey areas, with a view to having fewer units but each of a higher quality. The evidence suggests that patients get better care in departments catering for larger populations, because that enables them to have good senior doctor cover round the clock and ensures that those doctors perform a high volume of specialist procedures. The hospitals hosting the closed units would not themselves close, but would be focused on other areas of healthcare delivery. The changes are also necessary to make the NHS hospitals in the area financially sustainable.
The proposals which are now being considered contain three options, ranked according to how financially sustainable they are and by whether they can provide the necessary quality. The first two options improve Croydon University Hospital (formerly Mayday). The third, and least favoured option, is that CUH would be the one to lose its A&E and Maternity.
We believe that the professionals who have judged that this third option is virtually undeliverable are quite correct and we are fighting hard to ensure that common sense prevails and that we keep these crucial services locally.
The recommendations agreed by the board must now be considered by all seven Clinical Commissioning Groups in the area, and if accepted will go out for public consultation.
Under the proposals Croydon University Hospital would also continue to provide children's short stay and specialist care, day case surgery and an urgent care centre.
Leader of Croydon Council Mike Fisher said: “This is extremely encouraging news for Croydon and we fully support the recommendations of the board to keep these vital services in the borough.
“However, we won’t take anything for granted as there is a long way to go in this process, and decisions have still to be made.
“We will continue to campaign on behalf of our residents to make sure our hospital retains its status, as closing down either of those units or downgrading it would put too great a strain on too many, and we cannot allow that to happen.”