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A&E axe will save little money'

PUBLISHED: 10:13 18 March 2010 | UPDATED: 10:08 12 August 2010

PLANS to axe emergency services have been criticised after a report shows that up to 90 per cent of patients attending A&E can not be treated elsewhere.

PLANS to axe emergency services have been criticised after a report shows that up to 90 per cent of patients attending A&E can not be treated elsewhere.

The report commissioned by the Department of Health shows no more than 30 per cent of patients attending A&E could be treated in the community.

The findings, published on March 5 comes after Primary Care Trusts in South East London decided to axe the A&E at Queen Mary's Hospital in Sidcup (QMS) and transfer emergency cases to the Princess Royal Hospital in Farnborough (PRUH) and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich.

Pressure Group London Health Emergency's information director Dr John Lister said:

"It is clear that diverting the least serious A&E cases away from hospital A&E departments would affect less than half the number of cases that managers had assumed - and that little or no money would be saved.

"This document means that every plan to scale back A&E services to Urgent Care Centres or polyclinic level needs to be torn up and revised.

"NHS London needs to go back to the drawing board.

"The report should immediately be used by every MP and councillor seeking to defend local hospital services against half-baked, cash-driven plans to run them down.

"It also raises the question of where the 60 per cent figure touted by NHS London came from in the first place.

"It makes it even more urgent that NHS London be called upon to publish the secret McKinsey document which is the basis of their proposals for cutbacks, to show what evidence, if any, they ever had for their assumptions on switching services away from existing, well-known and popular local hospitals to a network of expensive and untried polyclinics which have yet to be built."

A spokesperson for NHS London said: "Our research shows that in London over 60 per cent of people who attend A&E departments could be cared for more appropriately in different urgent care settings.

"In the capital we know patients are more likely to use A&E departments because many Londoners live close to a hospital.

"To ensure A&E Departments are able to treat the urgent cases as fast as possible we have launched our Choose Well campaign to encourage people to use the most appropriate health service for their condition.

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