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Driving out of Epsom hospital yesterday – a facility that serves the rapidly growing local population but which won’t be able to for much longer if many more housing estates go up, I was stopped by a group protesting against the hospital’s potential closure, together with that of its sister hospital in South West London. The plan is to replace them with an 800-bed ‘super-hospital’ on one of the sites or somewhere in between– something that has already happened with other UK hospitals over the past decade or so.
The threat of closure has been hanging over many UK hospitals for years, with the promise that they will be replaced by super-hospitals - all part of the previous government’s ‘better healthcare closer to home’ initiative.
News of this plan surfaced as a result of a BBC reporter overhearing and recording a conference call made on a commuter train, by management consultants following a meeting with the trust’s chief executive – which doesn’t inspire much confidence in the consultants’ decision-making abilities!
I don’t know how many £ millions have been spent on all the consultants employed to run the studies, but not one of the consultancies seems to be considering the rapidly growing population of these isles and the resultant heavy traffic, those ferrying around people whose lives are in the balance, will need to negotiate, on their way to a hospital sited many miles away from their home!
Nor will they, I’m sure, have considered the possibility of job cuts for local cleaners and the likelihood that the trusts or their cleaning contractors won’t be able to recruit sufficient numbers of cleaning staff to service these new super-hospitals, which can be an issue even with smaller hospitals!
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16th April 2015