Report recommends centralising services
One of the four accident and emergency units covering south-west London could close as part of a major health service review.
The 'Better Services Better Value' report undertaken by NHS South West London has proposed one of the units at St George's, St Helier, Croydon University or Kingston Hospitals is closed.
Instead it says a stand-alone urgent care centre could treat 70% of patients now treated in A&E departments. The remaining three A&E units would each also have an urgent care centre.
One of the same four hospitals could also lose their maternity unit, as part of the review carried out by doctors, nurses and other health professionals.
Dr David Finch, a Battersea GP and Joint Medical Director for Better Services Better Value, said: "These are clinical recommendations only. No decisions have been made and our recommendations will be subject to full public consultation.
"Our recommendations should mean that everyone in south-west London can be sure that they will receive the highest quality of care when they need it most, even at the weekends. I know that in a life-threatening situation I would want my family to travel that little bit further by ambulance to be treated by the best possible, specialist doctors and nurses for their condition.
"By centralising the most specialist services, we know we can improve their quality and safety. A doctor performing a certain operation five times a week is going to be more prepared than a doctor who performs it just five times a year.
"By centralising maternity services we can help ensure every mother has one to one midwife care and a senior doctor on hand in case of emergencies."
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March 5, 2012