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Hospital axe plan slammed as a mockery’

PUBLISHED: 15:48 04 June 2008 | UPDATED: 15:42 16 August 2010

CAMPAIGNERS say a report on plans to downgrade health services proves nobody is buying the proposals, apart from those who created them . The Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (JHOSC), made up of councillors from the seven affected boroughs

CAMPAIGNERS say a report on plans to downgrade health services proves "nobody is buying the proposals, apart from those who created them".

The Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (JHOSC), made up of councillors from the seven affected boroughs, have slammed proposals that include axing the Accident and Emergency and maternity units at nearby Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup.

Councillors from across south London and Kent County Council revealed their damning 64-page review last Friday. In it, they claim the consultation was 'inadequate' and the proposals are driven by 'financial pressures'. They said reassurances are needed over capacity, transport and provision.

Opposition for the plans has rapidly grown since your campaigning Times first uncovered the news more than a year ago.

Campaigner and Bexley councillor Sharon Massey said: "A lot of work has gone into that report which unanimously objects to the consultation.

"The NHS has just thrust this upon us. It seems this was cooked up in a backroom and they have all decided. Nobody is buying it apart from those who decided it.

"No other organisation is supporting it. It is completely flawed. The whole thing is a mockery. I can't believe these are the people in charge of reorganising our NHS. It is scary."

The report includes 34 recommendations to the committee A Picture for Health (APOH), which is behind the proposals and the consultation document.

It includes the need for more detailed work and costings to be made available about the effects on the London Ambulance Service, including how patients will be transported to Darent Valley, Dartford.

They have 28 days to respond and a spokesperson for APOH said all recommendations need to be considered.

Members of a joint committee of primary care trusts will make the final decision about the future of health services in the area next month.

Then the JHOSC could refer the case to the Secretary of State for Health.

The report said: "We are concerned at the inadequacy of the consultation and the exclusion of many residents from the process. The presentation of materials was poor, the options were obscured and the coincidence of the Healthcare for London consultation caused confusion."

A spokesman for APOH said: "We can confirm that we have now received the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee's final report and we are studying it with great care and attention."

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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