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Saturday, 4 May 2013

Harlequins victorious in a nail biting match at the Twickenham Stoop

A cautious atmosphere at the Twickenham Stoop. Harlequins and Northampton Saints have both qualified for the play-offs. Today was a fight for advantage in the knock-out stage.

There was a good level of support from the home fans which erupted when the Saints' kick-off went straight into touch handing a scrum to Quins.

The home side were penalised allowing Saints to kick long, earning a line-out. It was well taken by the visitors but Quins were able to turnover the ball. A scrum to the home side who in a slow but steady way progressed up the field.

Following a successful line-out, Quins chipped through for a chase to the try line - a race which Saints won allowing them to kick to safety.

There was concern etched on the home supporter's faces as number 10 Nick Evans was injured early on, his replacement Botica warming up on the sideline just after 8 minutes of play. Evans, however, was able to stay on the field.

A knock-on by Quins handed possession to Saints. The visitors attempted to pass quickly allowing Quins to steal the ball during a lapse in concentration. Quins earned themselves a penalty which Evans successfully kicked. An early 3 point lead to the home side 12 minutes into the game.

The restart just about covered the minimum distance but it was Quins who took possession. They earned a line-out in the Saints half but it came to nothing as Saints were strong in their tackles. At this point there was very little supporting play by the home side.

After sending the ball back into Quins' territory, the visitors lost the line-out and Quins earned the subsequent put-in at the scrum. However their scrum was not as dominant as previous weeks and Saints were able to send play back into Quins' 22.

The home side played with a lot of spirit and pushed the Saints back, Danny Care intercepting. Strong tackling from the visitors forced Quins to kick. Although possession was handed back to Saints it was only momentary. They opted to kick, but it was too heavy and went dead.

The Quins' scrum performed well on the Saints' 10 metre line. Care chipped the ball long and Williams won the foot race to score a try in the 23rd minute. Evans converted and they now had 10 points on the board without reply.

Saints sent the restart long and were penalised for not releasing the tackled player. This allowed Quins to kick into the opposition's territory for a line-out. This was a wasted opportunity as the ball was knocked-on. Saints now had an attacking platform.

They passed the ball wide for Saints' no. 14 Pisi to cross for a try but it was disallowed after the Television Match Official (TMO) ruled on obstruction.

This scare seemed to motivate Quins who pushed on up the field until a penalty in the ruck gave Saints a line-out. They made the most of opportunities created and crossed for a try which went unconverted.

Saints once again pushed hard but Quins stole possession and Mike Brown kicked for a 2-man chase. The visitors once again won the race and play was sent back into Quins' half. Nobody could fault the work ethic of either side. Saints earned a penalty kick but their no. 10 Myler pulled it right of the posts.

Miscommunication by the visitors in the restart allowed Quins to grab the ball. However they made up for it in their tackling which slowed play and reduced offloads. Saints stole the ball but Evans reclaimed it, sending it along the touch line. He was tackled after kicking the ball but it was deemed the tackler was committed and was therefore unable to prevent the late contact. The ball went dead handing play back to Saints.

Quins were forced to make a try-saving tackle at the other end of the field. A line-out to Quins who kept possession and were then gifted another line-out towards the half-way line after the visitors were penalised for not releasing. The ball was thrown, collected and kicked out of play to end the first half.

Half Time: Harlequins 10 - 5 Northampton Saints

Quins started strongly in the second half, restarting the match and earning a line-out on Saints' 22m line. They drove on and after a quick referral to the TMO, the referee confirmed a try for Buchanan. Evans added the conversion within 2 minutes of second-half play.

After the ball was kicked back and forth, play settled with Quins applying pressure, earning a penalty. On this occasion Evans sent it wide.

Play returned to the Saints' 22m line. Quins retained possession following a line-out and quick passing allowed Care to break through the defence, passing wide for Casson to cross for a try in the 50th minute. Evans once again missed the conversion.

Harlequins were now 22 - 5 up on Northampton Saints.

The restart handed Quins' a scrum but Saints were dominant. They earned a penalty and opted for a line-out. The Saints kept possession and formed a maul. It was an effective tactic as Quins had no response. The visitors scored their second try of the game, this time converting it.

The Saints had the wind in their sails and once again pushed up the field. The home side were being called upon to put in some hard tackles, which they performed well, Evans eventually clearing their lines.

Calls of 'wake up, Quins' emerged from the stands as Saints again pushed up the field and Day darted over for a converted try. 12 minutes of the match left and Saints had pulled within 3 points of the home side.

There were changes for both teams, with Botica coming on for Evans. He made an immediate impact, taking on the defence head on. Saints were penalised for not releasing him and Botica opted for an ambitious shot at the posts from the half-way line. It came close but margins are what makes and breaks games. It was both short and wide.

Saints again dominated play and when Quins had possession they lacked innovation, passing to players who were standing still. By the time they got moving Saints were already upon them.

A knock-on from the visitors handed Quins a scrum. The visitors were penalised further and Botica kicked for a line-out half way. Great work from Quins saw them push within 5 metres of the try line. However Saints stole the ball and took it into touch. Seeing an opportunity Quins took a quick line-out but fumbled the ball. Cries of 'it would have been easier to score' echoed from the stands as Saints had the put-in at the scrum.

It did not take long for the fans to get behind their team again. There was spectacular play of long balls and high balls culminating in a penalty to Quins. Botica placed the ball well for a line-out in the opposition's 22. The atmosphere was electric.

Robson secured the ball and a maul was formed. It did not progress far and solid defence from the Saints forced Quins to pass wide, at which point the visitors stole the ball and cleared. Quins played sensibly, throwing the ball the minimum distance to retain possession.

The home side earned another penalty but Botica kicked to the corner for a line-out instead of taking the 3 points between the posts. Quins kept possession, formed a maul but it collapsed allowing Saints to steal the ball. Some quick reactions saw the visitors bustled into touch.

Another short throw ensured Quins retained the ball but Saints would not give up and forced a knock-on from the home side.

This was a dangerous scrum but in the end a forward pass brought the final whistle and an end to a nail biting match.

Harlequins will now face Leicester Tigers away next weekend in the play-off.

Full Time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 22 - 19 Northampton Saints
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 11:00 pm  

Hounslow cracks down on rogue landlords
In a crackdown on rogue landlords, Hounslow Council has inspected more than a thousand properties.

A team from the Council, the London Fire Brigade and the UK Border Agency have been using aerial photography and reports from neighbours to identify potential illegal dwellings.

Action is being taken against approximately 80 properties.

The majority of the places were found to be used for a valid purpose, but Councillor Steve Curran says they will be keeping an eye on them to make sure they’re not occupied in the future.

More street by street visits will continue through the summer.
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 4:59 am  

Stabbing on a Croydon bus
Police are appealing for witnesses to an attack on a bus in Croydon Friday afternoon.

An 18 year old man was stabbed on the top floor of the number 60 bus near the junction of London Road and Broad Green Avenue.

The victim was taken to hospital where he is in a stable condition.

Police would like to talk to commuters who were travelling on the bus between 4 and 4.20 pm.
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 4:57 am  

Life Saving Sessions in Runnymede
The South East Coast Ambulance Service is holding awareness sessions in the use of community defibrillators which are being supplied by Runnymede Council.

They want to show people how easy it is to use the automated equipment which could save someone’s life.

It’s an opportunity to learn skills which could be vital in the minutes before the emergency services arrive.

The Sessions will be held on the 16th May at the Hythe Centre, Thorpe Road, Staines and on 22nd May at Eileen Tozer Centre for over 55s, Crouch Oak Lane, Addlestone.

For more information or to book a place, contact Ed Keith on 01932 42524.
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 12:20 am  

Friday, 3 May 2013

Epsom and St Helier hospital units face an uncertain future

A controversial health care review has recommended that Epsom and St Helier hospitals lose their A&E and maternity departments after today publishing its proposals for both sites.

The BSBV review is also recommending one of the hospitals becomes an elective care hospital under three possible options.

The draft proposals must now go out to consultation to seven local clinical commissioning groups.

Croydon Hospital could also stand to lose its A&E depending on which option is chosen.

Surrey Downs' Commissioning governing board will hold a public meeting on May the 17th at Epsom Downs Racecourse.

MP for Carshalton, Tom Brake, says it was never clear why St Helier was targeted.

Meanwhile, Epsom's MP Chris Grayling has given his reaction to the News.

posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 12:12 pm  

Trout plan for River Wandle on the way to becoming London’s cleanest river

A £150,000 clean-up project on the River Wandle will see trout swimming in what is hoped will become London’s cleanest river.

The two-year plan will prevent tonnes of silt from entering a one-kilometre stretch of the Carshalton arm of the Wandle River and make it more habitable for a range of wildlife such as brown trout and kingfishers.

During the first six weeks the Wandle Trust will install three silt traps beneath the road on Denmark Road, Mill Lane and Butter Hill before work on the river itself proceeds.

Toby Hull, Catchment Project Officer for the Wandle Trust which is managing the DEFRA-funded project, said: “This is a very exciting plan which will help the river achieve Good Ecological Potential, the first river in Greater London to reach that status.”

Once the silt traps are in place, work will begin on bringing the Wandle back to a more natural state by removing silty deposits already in the water, narrowing the river to cope with future drought conditions, adding meanders and planting before aiming to re-introduce the trout in 2015.

Burying the silt traps under the roads will cause some traffic disruption and Sutton Council’s highways department and the Wandle Trust have been working very hard to ensure that inconvenience to drivers and residents is kept to an absolute minimum.

The work at Butter Hill and Mill Lane will mean that traffic will have to be regulated using temporary traffic lights at night. Denmark Road, however, will have to be closed for up to two weeks while the dig is completed.
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 10:18 am  

Thursday, 2 May 2013

CCTV images studied
CCTV images are being studied by police investigating a van which sparked a major security alert at Gatwick Airport.

Controlled explosions had to be carried out on the vehicle yesterday evening.

Detectives want to trace two men suspected of having dumped the blue Renault van in the airport's North Terminal short-stay car park before boarding a flight.
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 5:00 pm  

We talk to Cycling Weekly about Bradley Wiggins and the Giro D'Italia
Sir Bradley Wiggins says winning the Giro d'Italia could be tougher than his historic Tour de France victory last year.

Wiggins has also reiterated his desire to defend his Tour de France title later this year rather than play a support role for team-mate Chris Froome.

The Giro d'Italia starts on Saturday

Journalist Nick Bull from Cycling Weekly previews the big race:

posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 1:47 pm  

The Moonwalk is back
London’s most iconic charity event is back at Battersea Power station on Saturday May the 11th.

The Moonwalk is a midnight stroll through the streets of the Capital - along a 26.2 mile route.

Almost £6 million was raised last year with walkers pounding the pavement in the traditional attire of a brightly coloured bra.

The walk is sold out, but volunteers are still needed for the night. For more info click here

posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 1:09 pm  

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Sutton borough leaders invite residents to ask their questions
Borough chiefs will be quizzed later this month as people get the chance to ask their questions of Sutton’s decision makers.

Council leader, Cllr Ruth Dombey, Deputy Leader, Cllr Colin Hall, Sutton Youth MP, Johnoi Joseph, and Chief Executive of Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, Matthew Hopkins will be taking part in Sutton’s version of BBC's Question Time.

It is the second public Question Time to take place in the borough with the previous session being well attended.

The live audience pose questions directly to the panel who then discuss their answers with guests.

The evening will take place at Greenshaw School on Wednesday May the 22nd between 7pm and 9pm and be hosted by head teacher Will Smith.
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 11:59 am  

New strategy to tackle alcohol and drug misuse open for public scrutiny in Richmond
Residents and health practitioners in Richmond are being encouraged to have their say on a new joint approach to handling alcohol and drug abuse in the area.

The proposed strategy, compiled by Richmond Council and the borough’s local Clinical Commissioning Group, lays out a number of measures to reduce the risk or substance misuse.

A range of both preventative and supportive measures are suggested to tackle the issue, including implementing alcohol screening and advice at GP surgeries and A & E, and support to families where the parents’ drinking is affecting their children.

People with alcohol and drug problems will have improved access to treatment, as well as support services for example housing, benefits and education that are vital for recovery.
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 11:17 am  

Premier League, Police and plenty of pit-stops as record-breaking adventurers set off on 3,000 Miles of YES tour.

Two record-breaking British adventurers set off on an ambitious challenge yesterday by riding 3,000 miles on an ElliptiGO, a unique bicycle which combines running, cycling and the elliptical trainer.

Dave Cornthwaite, from Clapham, and Squash Falconer, from Derby, will travel through five countries in nine weeks on their 3,000 Miles of YES trek, which is designed to inspire people to say ‘Yes’ more in their lives.

As well as inspiring people to get active, Dave and Squash will be raising money for breast cancer charity CoppaFeel!

The challenge was launched at Everton’s F.C’s Finch Farm training ground after it was revealed the ElliptiGO is a secret weapon for Everton’s squad, who are the only Premier League club to use the bike as part of their training programme.

The UK leg of the trek includes stops in Derby, Leicester and Milton Keynes, before the duo arrive in London’s Hyde Park on May the 5th to help Adrian Leppard, Commissioner of the City of London Police and his cycle safety crew give advice to Londoners to stay safe when cycling in the capital.

Dave and Squash will arrive through Victoria Gate at 3pm and then join the cycle safety crew in the Cockpit, located at the north-west corner of The Serpentine.

A day later they will be joined by a group of fellow ElliptiGO enthusiasts to embark on the famous London to Brighton route.
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 11:02 am  

Richmond Council talks ‘Direct’ to Business
Businesses in the borough can now receive up-to-date information from the Council regarding business related news, events and opportunities.

As part of the Council’s work to support the business community, ‘Business Direct’ is a new quarterly e-newsletter that enables the Council to engage directly with businesses on issues that matter to them.

The newsletter has already been sent to over 1,000 local businesses who have signed up to be listed in the borough’s business directory.

The first edition included features on the Council’s approach to boosting the local economy, Richmond’s Den, Ride London cycling event and information on how reducing energy usage can save businesses money.

It also contains information relating to Council services such as Business Rates, licensing and refuse, as well as important issues such as major events or development and building schemes that might impact business.
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 10:53 am  

Mayor’s Cup Bowls competition proves interest is on the rise
The annual Mayor’s Cup Bowls competition was won this year by the home side Hampton Bowls Club in a closely fought battle that also resulted in a generous contribution to good causes.

Held on Sunday at Hampton Bowls Club, the competition involved 24 participants, attracted more than 50 spectators and resulted in victory for the home side.

The £80 raffle takings were donated to the Mayor’s charities, The Horse Rangers and The Poppy Factory.

The popular match also marks an upsurge in interest in bowling with new fun introductory session for all ages at leading clubs across the Borough aimed at welcoming newcomers to the sport.
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 10:51 am  

Over 1000 books given away in Richmond
Over 1000 books were given away last week to residents in celebration of World Book Night.

Fifty residents applied to be ‘book givers’ in conjunction with the borough’s libraries as part of a national campaign to get more people reading.

Across the country, over 1 million books were given away, including 60 copies distributed by the Richmond Library Service.
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 10:50 am  

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Man from Mitcham hailed a hero
A tube passenger is being labeled a hero after jumping onto the tracks at Stockwell station to rescue a woman who had collapsed.

27 year old Osman Dean from Mitcham was standing next to the woman during rush hour last Wednesday when she fell on the line.

The legal assistant says he acted on instinct and he’s happy to have prevented a tragic accident.
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 3:33 pm  

Beeny planning so called mega basement
It seems like TV property guru Sarah Beeny could be about to enrage some of her neighbours.

The 41 year old and her family say they are considering the construction of a mega basement in their home in Streatham.

One woman told the Evening Standard any building work would be disruptive and she isn’t keen on the idea.

Ms Beeny is best known for her TV series Help! My house is falling down
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 3:33 pm  

Crimewatch appeal update
Detectives are encouraged after numerous phone calls to Crimewatch about an attack on a man left with life-changing injuries in New Addington.

The programme featured a reconstruction of the assault on Gary Hayward and his father John, which happened in October 2011 in Central Parade.

Today investigating officer Detective Inspector Simon Harding says they are “very encouraged” by the calls that came in last night.

They’ve been contacted by witnesses who hadn't come forward previously and we have had names of suspects given to them.

A reward of up to £20,000 is available for information leading to a conviction.
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 3:32 pm  

Rapper loses fight to clear his name
N-Dubz rapper Dappy has lost his appeal against his conviction for assault at the court of appeal.

The 25 year old was found guilty in January of the assault following a brawl at a petrol station in Guildford.

He was handed a six month sentence suspended for eighteen months.

His co - defendants, Kieran Vassell from Hammersmith, and Alfred Miller from Brentford, were jailed.
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 3:32 pm  

More travel chaos in Hampton Hill this Bank Holiday weekend
Sewer works on Uxbridge Road in Hampton Hill mean it will be closed until Monday.

The busy route was shut on Sunday morning after the problem emerged, with contractors saying it would reopen by tomorrow.

There is no word as to why the works have been delayed.

For up to date travel info listen on air 107.8fm or follow us on Twitter @jackie_travel
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 3:31 pm  

Animal cruelty convictions up in the South East
Convictions for cruelty to animals are up in the South East.

East Sussex and Kent saw a rise over the last year according to the RSPCA.

Officers say the problem is in part due to the economic downturn.

However, in Surrey, levels of animal cruelty convictions actually dropped last year from 44 to 13.
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 3:30 pm  

Big night of Cup football comes to Imber Court
Kingstonian meet Bromley in the London Senior Cup final at Imber Court this evening.

K’s will be looking to make up for last season when they lost in the final to Hendon.

Manager Alan Dowson has been speaking to Radio Jackie ahead of tonight's game.

The match kick's off at 7.30
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 12:49 pm  

Monday, 29 April 2013

Kingston Hospital has been granted foundation status
Kingston Hospital’s units should be safe from closure.

The trust that runs the site has achieved foundation status – something all hospitals have to achieve by next year.

Kingston has achieved the status on its own.

On his campaign trail in 2010, David Cameron promised Kingston would be safe.
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 9:24 pm  

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Disability Arts are celebrated in Leatherhead
The first Disability Arts in Surrey Festival was held over the weekend.

A variety of disability and integrated arts were on show during DAiSY Fest: poetry, film screenings, theatre, music, artwork and dance.

As well as performances, workshops were also offered allowing people of all abilities to get a taste of what can be achieved.

Radio Jackie's Natalie Osborne attended a showcase at Leatherhead Theare and spoke with the festival's Artistic Director John Kelly.  This can be heard on the Radio Jackie Red Button.
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 10:51 pm  

Report into services at Epsom hospital due sooner than expected
The Better Services Better Value team reviewing the future of local hospital services is planning to publish its recommendations sooner than expected.

According to Epsom's MP Chris Grayling, they are now due out on Friday May the 3rd.

Epsom, along with a number of other hospitals, is facing losing vital units including A&E and maternity, or even closure

Mr Grayling says; I have very real misgivings about what they are set to propose, and I have set these out in an open letter to Dr Claire Fuller, who chairs the new local Commissioning Group of GPs who are taking the decisions locally.

Below is Mr Grayling's letter in full;

Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group.

Dear Claire,

I am writing to you, and copying this open letter to your management board, all the GPs in my constituency and all local councillors, in anticipation of the publication next week of the recommendations to be made by the Better Services Better Value review.

I have long argued that our local GPs should be at the centre of decision making about the future of health services in the constituency that I represent and the surrounding area. It is a matter of enormous disappointment to me that so soon after that power has been granted, our local GPs have chosen to acquiesce in a programme that in my view involves cannibalising Epsom and St Helier hospitals to bolster three other London hospitals, leaving our area denuded of services and putting unfinanced pressure on other Surrey hospitals. I would always have hoped that there would have been a proper local discussion, an evaluation of the savings to be generated for the local health economy by consolidating a range of community and other services on the Epsom site, and local decision making. I would also have hoped to see a real attempt being made to see if an innovative approach to the provision of acute services at Epsom can make them sustainable. Instead we have seen clinical working groups where the views of local consultants have been railroaded by their London counterparts. We have seen decisions taken by meetings where there were six people present from St George's alone, and two from Surrey, and each individual got a vote.

I have always said that, over all the years that I have campaigned for Epsom Hospital, that I would treat seriously any proposals that genuinely enhance the quality of healthcare for the people I represent. I have always intended to support difficult decisions if I truly believed that they were the best options for patients. I am utterly unpersuaded that such improvements are on the table.

My expectation is that later this week BSBV will announce either that Epsom will lose all of its inpatient services, or that it will become a purely elective centre. It has seemed clear to me all the way through that you and your colleagues have believed that in this latter case, a large amount of additional work will flow from London to Epsom and as a result will sustain it as a local centre.

What this assumption fails to recognise is that there is absolutely no obligation on any London hospital or CCG to transfer work to Epsom. All the hospitals will shortly be Foundation Trusts, they have the right to take their own decisions, and patient choice will, in my view, dictate a reality that they carry on doing most if not all of their current work themselves. I do not believe that the proposed elective work will come to Epsom.

I also believe that no thought has actually gone into what happens to the ownership and control of Epsom after all of this. If both hospitals lose their acute services, and one loses all inpatient services, it is hard to see the Epsom and St Helier Trust surviving in its current form. Who then controls the remaining services at Epsom? Who is responsible for its finances? This is a basic question that it is clear no one has thought about at all. It's quite obvious that the thinking so far about the consequences generally of BSBV has been woefully inadequate.

The doctrine behind the BSBV review also involves a significant transfer of provision from the secondary to the primary care sector. I have yet to see any evidence that the primary care sector in our area has developed a clear strategy to do this. There is no local GP capacity available – indeed I receive complaints about the difficulty in obtaining an appointment with a GP in some practices, such has been the increase in demand for routine GP appointments. Out of hours services are not well regarded. Those practices that offer additional services tend to make use of roving consultants – but those same consultants will be required to relocate to London hospitals and focus more clearly on their needs if the overall levels of consultant cover envisaged in BSBV are to be met. The primary care sector will need to cover a lot of the work currently being done in A&E at Epsom – either on site or in their own facilities. But who is actually going to do the work?

Most fundamentally, you are signing up to a process of change that is unfunded and where deliverability is completely uncertain. Together with all the local authorities affected and the local MPs, Surrey County Council is currently seeking detailed information from all the hospitals involved, both inside and as neighbours to the BSBV process, to establish the cost and availability of funding to do all of this.

The changes will involve a need to invest in extra capacity not just at St George’s, Croydon and Kingston, but also at East Surrey, St Peter’s and Guildford. It is likely that a large proportion of emergency cases that currently use Epsom will go south and not north, and all of the evidence from past changes is that Epsom patients choose Surrey options and not London ones. In maternity alone, the decision to close the units at Epsom and St Helier require capital investment capable of providing for 6,000 births, the equivalent of a large maternity unit at a major hospital. As far as I can ascertain so far, the expectation is that realising the ambitions of BSBV is likely to cost several hundred million pounds – possibly as high as £300m. Supporting this level of investment will probably impose an additional annual cost of capital burden of perhaps £25-£30 million on the health economy in SW London and Surrey. Where is this money to come from? What evidence is there that it will be provided by NHS England over the course of the next few years? Some of it will need to come from Surrey in the form of additional capital for the other Surrey hospitals. Whose budgets will that money and the ongoing cost of capital come from? What happens if you take decisions now which start to impact on the viability of Epsom and St Helier, services start to really struggle, and then the investment funding is not available?

You will know now that the projected deficit for Epsom and St Helier has fallen sharply, to the point that the Department of Health now regards it as one of its lesser financial problems. There is a strong likelihood of the Trust achieving break even within the next financial year, according to its current forecasts.

More importantly, though, wherever the work currently done at Epsom is carried out in the future, you will still have to pay for it. Unless you can deliver cheaper treatment models in the primary care sector very quickly, then you will end up paying the same amount to other acute trusts, whilst the local health economy also has to find a way of paying for its share of the capital spend on BSBV.

So I really do not understand how this will save any money for our area. And the financial problems that seemed to be making a Surrey option for Epsom unrealistic are clearly easing. I recognise that there is a degree of passing of deficit between secondary and primary care - but the way to solve that is to maximise the utilisation of the spend we have got by consolidation of provision onto the Epsom site, and transforming the way the hospital works.

Of course you and your colleagues have rightly argued that patient safety and patient outcomes should be the most important factor in this. But it is far from clear that we will see improvements for local people.The most obvious area of concern in this respect is maternity. Epsom’s maternity unit, for example, is currently compliant with Royal College Workforce guidelines, and has mortality figures that are well below the national average and crucially well below the levels at Kingston, Croydon and St George’s. In 2010 it had no neonatal deaths and its perinatal death rate was well below Kingston.

Part of the justification for change is to secure 24/7 consultant cover. But the other Surrey trusts are nowhere near achieving this, and so local people are being asked to accept the disappearance of a local service to secure an outcome that might become available in London, depending on staff retention, but will not be available to them in their own county.

Finally, the plans from BSBV are only workable if the London hospitals take on most if not all of the key medical staff at Epsom. Otherwise it is not possible to achieve the kind of consultant cover they are talking about. But at the same time the primary care sector is operating at close to capacity. So where will the staff come from to do the work at Epsom? How can we be sure that what is left will be able to offer any kind of quality staffed service? You will be aware that clinical staff at Epsom have warned that the BSBV proposals in maternity and paediatrics represent a safety threat to patients in their current form.

In short, I remain completely unconvinced that this rushed process has provided any sensible answers for local health issues. The quality of analysis provided by the BSBV team has been poor, and the understanding of healthcare in Surrey limited.By contrast there is a real willingness, as you saw at the meeting we held at Surrey County Council, for the Surrey community to engage in real discussions about how to make the local health economy work more efficiently and cost-effectively and to find a Surrey option for Epsom - possibly by integrating health and social care on the site.

What we have on the table right now is either an option which removes all Epsom’s inpatient services, or another which simply removes its acute services. Neither appears to offer either obviously better value for money or a guarantee of improved care for the patients who are currently using Epsom Hospital. There is no guaranteed funding for change, and the cost of provision is, if anything, likely to rise not fall because of the cost of capital. Primary care locally does not seem to be ready to take on significant extra responsibilities, and it is far from clear how the future configuration of services locally would be staffed. It looks like an attempt to cannibalise Epsom to help SW London, and will certainly be seen as such by the local community. And I'm not sure that the NHS is remotely capable of handling yet another major reconfiguration in London when there is already so much happening elsewhere.

I can see no benefit to anyone locally in the months of protest and confrontation that will undoubtedly lie ahead if Surrey Downs simply decides to go ahead with the BSBV proposals. It will embroil local GPs across the area in controversy and will distract everyone from delivering healthcare. By contrast an agreement to set aside the BSBV process, or at least to work alongside it and establish a Surrey based working group with a clear brief and a clear timetable to bring forward a viable plan for the future of Epsom would seem a far more sensible approach. This would enable us to explore again partnerships with other Surrey Trusts, the integration of primary and secondary care on one site, alternative business models for the existing acute services, and possible partnerships with the private sector. I am absolutely of the view that such an alternative is deliverable and would provide better security for our local services in future.

I'm really not sure your governing body has fully thought through the consequences of the current process. I don't doubt the sincerity of the clinicians involved, but the practicalities look rather different. And they are walking into a maelstrom if things continue as they are.

I can only urge you to take a step back.

With best wishes,

Chris Grayling
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 10:17 pm  

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Luke spends his free time playing synthesisers and watching old sitcoms. Journalism helps remind him of the 21st century.

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Chloe Norman
Chloe presents both news and travel - find out more about her on the Presenters page.

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Alex Loveridge
Alex loves watching tennis at Surbiton and Wimbledon and also plays a bit too. He swims at Richmond, but not in the Thames.

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Mike Oban
Mike enjoys playing and watching sports and is a budding football coach.

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Jacqui Kerr
Jacqui enjoys all sports and has had a go at most! She loves talking, current affairs, music, and walking her polar-bear-sized dog.

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David Walker
David´s philosophy is you only live once so go out and grab every opportunity no matter how small.

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Sharmeen Ziauddin
Sharmeen lives in Worcester Park and loves lie-ins, kittens, books, politics, make-up and anything with sugar in it, but hates Monday mornings with a vengeance.

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John Beesley
John lives in Hounslow. He enjoys beer and singing with barbershop quartets and choruses, though not necessarily in that order.

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Emily Dexter
Emily is creative and has wide-ranging interests.

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Amelia Beltrao
Amelia thinks living in New Malden definitely has its benefits: she gets the shops and beautiful riverside from Kingston, can walk her dogs on the common and visit the tennis in Wimbledon, as well as having a great range of Asian culture and cuisines on her high street.

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Katie Waple
Katie presents both news and travel - find out more about her on the Presenters page.

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Annie Smith
Annie grew up in Molesey. You can often find her cycling (badly) along the tow path by the river in Kingston or walking her dog Scout in Bushy Park.

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Clare Whitehead
Clare is a playwright, an experienced voiceover artist and the narrator of several audio books. She loves dogs and ballet!

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