Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Picture of Health

I received the consultation form for A Picture of Health the other day. I haven't had the chance to read it fully but on the face of it, what is being proposed is worrying.

What is more worrying is understanding how public consultations really work. In my experience, those making the consultation already have in their minds their preferred option and are looking for responses that back that up.

A Picture of Health tends to lead us down that route - the options for 3 of the 4 hospitals having already been decided, leaving us with a consultation on what to do with Lewisham hospital. Quite what people on the outskirts of Bexley, Bromley and West Kent care about that I'm not sure, but they too are consulted.

If what appears to be the preferred option for Lewisham is chosen, then surely the new Riverside building will have been the biggest waste of money ever. It already has a completely empty floor which can't be used because of some nonsense in the PFI contract (as I understand it, don't quote me on that!), at this rate the rest of the hospital will be empty too. Pitiful.

I do hope to respond to the consultation once I've had chance to properly digest the proposals, and may well post my response here for all to see (should they be interested...)


kate said...

Hi Clare, this really worries me and i am sure all these cuts to services will end up costing lives. Sounds dramatic i know but if you live in sidcup getting to Dartford, Lewisham, farnborough or Greenwich is a bit of a trek.
Did you apply or was the consultaion just sent to you?

Wulf said...

You can download the consultation document and questionnaire from the Picture of Health website. They should also be getting delivered to every house in the whole area but I haven't had mine yet.

The theory behind the plans that cluster services in one or two locations is that they then have the critical mass to produce much better results. However, it is true that it makes the assumption that travel is easy for everyone, including friends and relatives who want to visit patients, and doesn't seem to consider the environmental (and knock on health) impacts of all this required mobility.

BTW, the floor on the Riverside wing at Lewisham is empty(ish) because, by the time it had been built, service provision had already changed to need less wards. For the next few months there is some experimental usage of the floor for those who are waiting on things like social services reviews to go home but don't need the acute care any more. That looks like it might be a useful purpose for the capacity.

Clare Griffiths said...

I didn't apply, it just popped through the door. I was thinking to respond anyway so I may well have sought out the info if it hadn't been delivered to me, but this way certainly makes it more likely that I will respond.