Judicial review is not the answer

PUBLISHED: 12:35 29 January 2008 | UPDATED: 21:51 26 October 2009

SIR - On December 19, following many months of discussion and public consultation, the NHS in Hertfordshire decided that acute hospital services in the east and north of the county should be brought together in future at the Lister in Stevenage. This ch

SIR - On December 19, following many months of discussion and public consultation, the NHS in Hertfordshire decided that acute hospital services in the east and north of the county should be brought together in future at the Lister in Stevenage.

This change would be implemented towards the end of 2010 with more than £100 million being invested in new buildings, facilities and equipment.

At the same time a £30 million new local general hospital, with an urgent care centre, will be created in WGC.

While we can understand the disappointment and concern raised by many in the Welwyn Hatfield area about these decisions, it is important that none of us lose sight of the clinical issues at stake here.

As representatives of the trust's senior doctors and nurses, some of whom have been associated with the QE2 for many years, we support the proposed changes.

Why? Because it is our collective view that the local health service must change if patient care is to improve.

We want to provide the best health care possible for local people, but for this vision to work, the health service also needs to invest in primary and community-based health services as well - which following last December's decisions, the PCT is committed to doing.

Today, too many patients come to acute hospitals like the Lister and QE2 for routine care that could and should be provided in health centres and community hospitals closer to where they live.

One of our key considerations is how services will be accessed by patients.

The time taken to reach the services patients use most often is very important and we want to provide more of this routine care in community settings, closer to where people live.

For the minority of patients, who suffer a life-threatening emergency, we know that our proposals can improve their chances of recovery from a serious health event such as a heart attack or stroke - even if they have to travel further to get to A&E than they do today.

The ambulance service is ready to ensure that those who need to travel to hospital will not just get there on time, but will travel in highly-equipped vehicles. These vehicles will have trained paramedic staff on board, who will start treating patients immediately and will then ensure that they are taken to the right hospital for their particular health care needs.

The time is right to make lasting changes that will improve patients' care.

Now is not the time to seek a judicial review, which will only delay necessary and inevitable changes, cause significant amounts of taxpayers' money to be wasted and prolong the uncertainty hanging over trust staff.

We call on those considering seeking a judicial review to think again.

We urge them to accept the decision and work with us in developing Welwyn Hatfield's future local health service.

Mr James Quinn, medical director and consultant ear, nose and throat surgeon,

Mr John Saetta, deputy medical director and A&E consultant.

Dr Rajan, deputy medical director and consultant in anaesthesia and intensive care.

Dr Simon Greenfield, clinical director for emergency medicine, A&E and elderly care.

Dr Andy Raffles, clinical director of paediatrics and consultant paediatrician.

Dr Colm Prendergast, clinical director for radiology.

Miss Jane McCue, consultant colorectal surgeon.

Prof Ken Farrington, consultant nephrologist.

Mr Tom Holme, consultant general surgeon and surgical tutor.

Ms Barbara Jenkins, clinical director for medical specialties and head of nursing medicine.

Noel Scanlon, nursing director.

Sheelagh Molloy, lead nurse/matron for A&E, emergency medicine and elderly care.

Kath Evans, lead nurse/matron for children's services.

Karen Cameron, lead nurse/matron for theatres, anaesthetics and critical care.

Ken West, clinical nurse manager/matron for medicine and elderly care.

Ursula O'Leary, lead nurse specialist for palliative care.

Enda Gallagher, matron for emergency medicine.

Elaine Allan, senior nurse/matron for orthopaedics.

Ella van Raders, senior clinical nurse specialist for pain management.

Veronica McInerney Gilbert, Macmillan oncology clinical nurse specialist.

Deloris Brown, lead nurse for neonatal services.

Liz Lees, colorectal nurse specialist.

All East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust.

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