§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
I have today written to the chairmen of the North and South Thames regional health authorities advising them of my decisions on a number of proposals from health authorities to develop local services. These proposals have all been subject to extensive public consultation and I have given most careful consideration to the comments made. Copies of my letters to the regional chairmen will be placed in the Library.
Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham
I have decided to accept the proposals for the concentration of acute services provided by the Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Trust by developing St. Thomas' as the main site for acute in-patient and emergency services, and 1042W developing Guy's as a hospital for local people providing a range of services including a minor injuries unit, out-patient clinics, day surgery facilities and in-patient beds for planned, non-emergency treatment for people on waiting lists. Guy's would also retain the dental hospital and school, and would provide mental health services including in-patient beds. I have made it clear that the Guy's accident and emergency department and supporting beds are not to close until alternative facilities are in place and operating satisfactorily, which I understand will not be before the end of 1998.
I have also decided to accept the proposal to transfer kidney transplant operations from King's College hospital, Dulwich to the Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Trust.
Bexley and Greenwich
I have decided to accept the proposals to develop the Queen Elizabeth military hospital as the main new NHS district general hospital for the Greenwich area by transferring acute services from Greenwich district hospital and the Brook hospital to QEMH. This will lead to the closure of the Brook hospital and change of use of the Greenwich district hospital. I have also decided to agree to the transfer of specialist neurosurgery and cardiothoracic services from the Brook hospital to King's and Guy's and St. Thomas', respectively.
East London and The City
I have decided to accept the proposals to improve the general and specialist services managed by the Royal Hospitals NHS Trust by bringing them together on the Royal London Whitechapel site. This will mean, over time, transferring services from the London chest hospital site and most of the St. Bartholomew's site.
I am determined that the St. Bartholomew's ethos and culture should be preserved, albeit on a different site. In making my decision, I have paid particular attention to the views which have been expressed about the historical significance of St. Bartholomew's and its national and international importance as a centre of excellence in medical teaching and research. I am setting up a project team to explore the options for using the invaluable asset of the Smithfield site. This will build on the work carried out by the trust and the "City Initiative".
I also welcome the proposals to develop the Homerton hospital as a modern district general hospital for the growing population of Hackney.
I have decided to accept the proposals to develop the Edgware site as a new local hospital. The Edgware accident and emergency department will be replaced by a minor injuries unit, and in-patient services transferred from Edgware general hospital to Barnet General, following completion of its redevelopment, Northwick Park and the Royal Free hospitals. I have made it clear that the Edgware accident and emergency department is to remain open until phase la of the development at the Barnet general hospital, which includes a new accident and emergency department, has been completed, which I understand is not expected to be before 1997, and satisfactory arrangements are in place for ambulance transport and for patient and visitor transport between the two sites.
The changes which I have agreed will strengthen specialist services by concentrating them in fewer, better, 1043W centres of excellence and provide modern acute hospitals closer to major centres of population. Together with major planned investment in primary and community health services, they will take forward our aim of improving health care for Londoners.