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Hospital faces overflow

PUBLISHED: 17:17 23 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:57 23 August 2010

HEALTH bosses gave the go-ahead to axing a hospital s A&E services despite widespread opposition to the plans. The Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) opted for an amended version of option two put forward by the A Picture of Health committee.

HEALTH bosses gave the go-ahead to axing a hospital's A&E services despite widespread opposition to the plans.

The Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) opted for an amended version of option two put forward by the A Picture of Health committee.

At the meeting on Monday, the JCPCT gave the green light to strip Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup (QMS) of its A&E, paediatric and maternity unit.

The overflow from Queen Mary's Hospital, which serves residents living in Swanley, will be relocated to neighbouring Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford, and hospitals in Bromley and Woolwich.

The decision comes nearly a year after your Reporter delivered thousands of signatures against the plans to Downing Street. In January this year, the Reporter revealed Darent Valley was likely to take on extra workload from the closure plan.

Chief executive Mark Devlin said: "We will be continuing to work with our colleagues in the south-east London health economy and the A Picture of Health project team to ensure the care local people receive continues to be of the highest standard.

"We believe that we can offer patients travelling to Darent Valley Hospital fast access to first class services."

Now a decision has been taken following the 14-week public consultation, where the majority of respondents indicated they wanted no change to services, and Bexley council is able to refer the case to the Secretary of State for Health.

The Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP), an advisory group on NHS change, will then decide if the contested consultation can go to a judicial review.

Bexley councillor Sharon Massey said that the council are "seriously considering" a judicial review.

Council bosses are due to meet other affected councils Greenwich and Bromley in a Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee (JOSC) today.

London Mayor Boris Johnson has pledged to give evidence in favour of QMS, should the case go to judicial review.

He said: "I am deeply disappointed by these proposals and will do everything I can to help the residents of Bexley in their battle to keep the important services provided by Queen Mary's.

"I have already stated that I will give evidence if the government refers the case to the independent reconfiguration panel."

On a more positive note, chief executive of QMS Trust Kate Grimes said the hospital 'faces a bright future'.

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