What the doctors ordered but how will it affect Bromley?

PUBLISHED: 14:09 12 April 2013 | UPDATED: 14:09 12 April 2013

Dr Parson

Dr Parson


Last week changes were made in the NHS that mean hospital, community and mental health services in Bromley are now run by a clinical commissioning group (CCG) led by working GPs.

The Princess Royal in FarnboroughThe Princess Royal in Farnborough

As of April 1, the group oversees a budget of about £377million and replaces Bromley Primary Care Trust, abolished under government health reforms.

The CCG is made up of 15 voting members, who will hold public meetings where residents can ask questions.

Dr Andrew Parson, chairman of Bromley CCG, has worked as a GP at Chislehurst Medical Practice, in High Street, since 1993.

Here, he answers questions about what the changes will mean.

Orpington HospitalOrpington Hospital

What are the priorities for Bromley CCG?

We have a large elderly population, so one of our priorities is to improve services for them. We have a project called Promise which works with other groups like the council to see how we can predict when people are going to get into trouble. It’s a more preventative approach to stop older people developing problems and ending up in hospital, which then puts pressure on staff. It’s important to reduce the number of people visiting hospitals in light of the changes happening in south east London.

We’re also looking at mental health services, and part of that is looking at patients with issues such as dementia.

Will staff be shared between King’s College Hospital and the Princess Royal University Hospital?

We have been talking to King’s about this and had public consultations about it. King’s would like to see staff from Bromley delivering services at King’s and vice versa. They are very optimistic and we think it will enhance healthcare provision.

What will happen to the Beckenham Beacon and Orpington Hospital?

The Beckenham Beacon is a really modern facility and already has some GP primary care. What the trust special administrator said was that he didn’t think South London Healthcare Trust should be burdened to continue services there and pay rent. But we think that site is fantastic and hasn’t really been fully utilised yet. We want to see the empty spaces filled; it’s very exciting.

There is a huge sense of pride in Orpington Hospital because of the history, and we need to make sure we have a plan for health services in the area. There have been a number of public meetings and the plan we have arrived at is to deliver a health and wellbeing centre in Orpington. It will deal with X-rays and blood tests, among other things.

What does the downgrading of Lewisham mean for the Bromley’s future?

The Lewisham decision will affect a lot of people in the north of Bromley, in areas such as Penge and Anerley. We did make that clear when we gave feedback to the trust special administrator and now need to look closely at our own provision of care in Bromley, because we’re likely to have more patients coming to Princess Royal University Hospital. We must remember that where you’re taken as an emergency case now tends to depend on your condition, so if you’re having a stroke in London, then there’s a good chance you’ll end up in Bromley. We are fortunate in this borough that we have a hospital with one of these emergency centres and a funding trust with a track record of being a teaching centre. That’s got to be good.

Will patients face longer waiting times as GPs face bigger workloads?

In our CCG we have six working GPs out there seeing patients, but they also have to make space to take on this role in clinical commissioning. I have a couple of days dealing with the CCG a week, and spend three days doing clinical work. It means we keep in touch with patients and see what their needs are. I wouldn’t do the commissioning without the clinical work. It’s a personal challenge for all of us involved and we rely on our GP colleagues to help us deliver. The best part is that we know if we change something, there is a good chance it will make a positive impact.

Are you a doctor or patient who has been affected by the changes? Let us know your views, email

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