Croydon’s A&E and maternity services: factsheet

 In Croydon, News

Croydon University Hospital’s Accident and Emergency and maternity services are under threat of closure or downgrading as part of a wider review of NHS services across south-west London.  This factsheet explains the background and what you can do to help.

What is BSBV and why are they reviewing local NHS services?

Better Services Better Value (BSBV) is a clinician-led programme reviewing NHS services available across South-West London including Croydon.   The review  aims to find sustainable ways to provide health services taking into account financial pressures caused by the Tory-led Government’s failure to increase NHS funding in line with inflation, failure to match funding with the growing health needs of our ageing population,  and the £3 billion the Government have wasted on a botched top-down NHS reorganisation.   Local clinicians are trying to do the best they can to deal with a problem that originates in Downing Street.  The Conservatives are responsible for the threat to our local services because it is their decisions in government that lie behind the proposals being put forward.

What are the proposals for Croydon?

BSBV published pre-consultation proposals earlier in 2013.  Local health professionals originally hoped that no services in Croydon would be listed for closure or downgrading, but when the proposals were published they included closing or downgrading parts of Croydon’s A&E unit and maternity services.  Although Croydon’s services were described as the ‘least preferred’ option after other services including those at St Helier and Epsom hospitals, they are nevertheless included as an option and are therefore at risk.  The public consultation was due to start over the summer, but has been repeatedly delayed while the ‘financial viability’ is reconsidered and may not now take place until the end of the year.  This reconsideration raises the possibility that Croydon’s services could become a higher priority for closure.

What’s Labour campaigning for?

Labour in Croydon wants to see a cross-party campaign with maximum public support to protect our local A&E, maternity and other health services from the threat of closure or downgrading.  We want to see proper investment to improve these services instead.  We accept the need for change because of the rising costs of providing healthcare to an ageing population, but we do not believe that Croydon – which has the biggest population of any borough in London – should lose these vital health services.  We also believe the Government was wrong to waste £3 billion on a top-down NHS reorganisation instead of investing this vast sum of money to improve frontline services such as ours in Croydon.

There are cross-party campaigns based around Epsom and St Helier hospitals, both part of the same BSBV review as Croydon,  supported by their local Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem MPs.  We’re disappointed that Conservative MPs in Croydon have so far refused to back the campaign for our threatened NHS services.   We hope they will change their minds.

Why is it important to campaign before the public consultation begins?

It’s important the public are aware there is a threat to their services at Croydon University Hospital.  Although Croydon is currently the ‘least preferred’ option for closure or downgrading, it has nevertheless been included as an option.  If there were no threat at all then Croydon’s services would not be listed as an option.  The public consultation has been delayed from the summer until the end of the year while the financial viability of the options are reviewed.  This raises the possibility that the ranking of options could change.  There are already vocal campaigns in support of services at St Helier and Epsom hospitals.  We need the decision-makers to know that Croydon residents do not want our local hospital services to close, that we do not want our services to be listed as a higher option for closure or downgrading when the public consultation finally begins, and that we must not be seen as an ‘easy option’ for closure simply because there is no campaign to support our local NHS services like the campaigns already running in other areas subject to the same review.

How can I support the campaign?

Please sign our petition, and encourage your friends and family members who live in Croydon to do the same.