The Copers Cope Area Residents’ Association invited the Bromley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), who a responsible for commissioning health care services in the borough, to address Beckenham residents at their AGM and Open Meeting on 28 March 2013. The room was packed with, over 110 residents, our MP Bob Stewart, Copers Cope Cllr Mellor, Penge and Cator Cllr Getgood and Clockhouse Cllr Milner.
Paul White (Associate Director) and GP Dr Jon Doyle (Clinical Lead) took questions for over an hour. A summary of significant points is below.
- The Special Administrator has recommended the South London Healthcare Trust (SLHT) consolidate where it provides services. This means the SLHT will move out of the Beckenham Beacon where it currently occupies 48% of the space. The SLHT also runs services at the Princess Royal University Hospital and the consolidation will see improvements at the PRUH, services that have been moved out of the PRUH in recent years, such as specialist cardiology will be re-established.
- King’s College London hospital (KCL) has advised that they would like to take over all the space vacated by the SHLT and that they would like to replicate all the services currently provided by the SHLT in the Beacon. At its simplest, KCL have agreed to go into the Beacon and carry on where the SLHT left off.
- The changeover from services provided by the South London Healthcare Trust to them being provided by KCL will commence on 1st April and the transition will be finished by October 2013. Most of the staff currently employed by the SLHT at the Beacon will continue to work at the Beacon under King’s. There may be a period of time where some services are wound down by the SHLT before King’s take them up, however they are keen to avoid loss of service.
- Rather than any loss of service, the Bromley CCG would like to look at opportunities to provide more. They are setting up a stakeholder group to find out what services the population need to be provided by the Beacon. Three local GPs and a number of Public Health colleagues are already on the group, however the CCG are keen to include members of the public. Our Association has signed up to the group to represent residents of Beckenham, so please let us know your views.
- When asked directly whether any services would be lost from the Beacon Paul White advised it is their intention not to remove any services and that the following services would definitely remain: Diagnostic services (such as bloods and x-ray); Physiotherapy services o GP Surgeries; Urgent Care Centre; Minor Injuries Unit.
- It was raised that Audiology Services had already been removed from the Beacon. Paul White explained they were required to put this service out to tender as part of a government initiative to extend choice for patients. As a result the service is now available through several providers including SpecSavers in Beckenham High Street. Other services going out for tender include dermatology, gynaecology and Warfarin management, all of which will be provided at more sites within the borough.
- Bob Stewart MP asked about short term beds and whether the Beacon could have a day surgery facility. The CCG are not ruling out the possibility of short term beds, however initially they are concentrating on out-patient services (usually accessed through referral from a GP). Regarding minor operations in a day surgery, this will be unlikely as Lewisham Hospital will have an elective day surgery and they will not have two so close together. There are no plans to have in-patient operations in the Beacon, however it was noted that the Beacon has a fully equipped minor surgery facility and that some minor surgery is already done there.
- Paul White advised that the CCG are currently thinking about the following additional services for the Beacon: Scoping Suite (Endoscopies etc.); Integrated cardiology services; Diabetic prevention and management services.
- Cllr Milner and residents suggested the following services: Fracture Clinic (hard to travel to PRUH with a fracture, many sports clubs in Beckenham); Stroke Victim Support Clinic; Diabetic Clinic; More physiotherapy services (current provider wants space in the Beacon and CCG keen to have that service); Longer opening hours for the Minor Injuries Unit; Longer opening hours for the Urgent Care Centre (currently 8am to 8pm).
- The expense of Parking at the PRUH and the Beacon was raised and a suggestion to have Pay On Departure parking was noted (as it is usually impossible to judge how long you will be when you arrive).
- Cllr Getgood asked if changes at Lewisham Hospital would be considered in determining what services are provided at the Beacon, i.e. filling in the gaps left by services ceasing at Lewisham. It was noted that for many people in Beckenham and Penge, Lewisham is the closet hospital. It was further noted that patients may get referred from the Beacon to the PRUH even though Lewisham Hospital may be closer to them.
- Cllr Mellor advised that the Government has passed responsibility for scrutinising health spending to local boroughs and the Bromley Council are setting up a ‘Health and Wellbeing Board’ to ensure health budgets are spent effectively and that there is full public consultation.
- Cllr Mellor asked whether GPs will be running ‘mini clinics’ in the future. Dr Doyle advised there was no expectation for GPs to undertake blood taking services, however healthcare assistants at GP surgeries could do so. Currently the three hubs for blood taking services in the borough are the Beacon, PRUH and Orpington Hospital. They also have 26 GP surgeries providing the service and are keen to expand this.
- When asked whether A&E at the PRUH can cope with increased demand Paul White advised current statistics suggest that 40% of people seen in A&E did not need to go there. The answer is to make it easier to access services in minor injuries units, urgent care centres and walk-in services, and these are the services they wish to develop further at the Beacon.
- Bob Stewart MP asked “Do you think Beckenham Beacon will be better in the future than the one now, and ditto Bromley services?” To which Dr Doyle replied “We see it as a big opportunity to provide better services to Bromley, and to Beckenham”.