Doctors, nurses and therapists are coming together with patients and their representatives to review health services in southwest London. They are calling the review: Better Services Better Value.

Dr Howard Freeman, local GP in Merton, and Medical Director for NHS South West London said:

“We spend £2.2 billion on health services in southwest London. In this Better Services Better Value review hospital doctors and GPs will ask the question – are we spending it in a way that benefits patients the most?

“Doctors from hospitals and local general practices, will lead six clinical working groups* to look at how local patients can receive the best possible care across health services in southwest London. They will ask: if GPs and hospital doctors, nurses and therapists work more closely together across southwest London how could we:

  • improve services for patients?
  • get better value for money for local people?

“The challenge for the NHS is great over the coming years – we need to become more efficient whilst improving the care we provide. Our ageing population means increased pressure on the NHS. As people live longer they are also more likely to live with at least one long-term condition like diabetes, asthma, or Alzheimer’s. We need to look at how the NHS keeps up with these changes to our population, and also keeps up with a growing preference for patients to be cared for in GP practices and in the community. It is far better to treat people early in the community, to stop them becoming seriously ill and then being admitted to hospital. It is also a better way to spend the resources we have and allows hospitals to focus on those patients who need the most specialist and urgent care.”

“GPs in Merton have developed a new service for patients who may need hip or knee replacement surgery. Instead of having to attend several hospital appointments, patients can now attend a “one-stop-shop” in the community where they meet their consultant, have a pre-operative assessment and are then referred for an operation if necessary. Not only is this more convenient for patients, but it reduces waiting times, makes better use of the consultant’s time and could save up to £200,000 per year.”

Gavin Marsh, Medical Director for Croydon Health Services, said:

“Working together, we will be discussing the problems and not proposing solutions at this stage. I would like to stress that as clinicians we have decided we need to begin this review to make sure we develop, enhance and protect services in southwest London for patients in the long term. Clinicians want to start asking patients and their representatives about improving services and getting better value across southwest London.”

Ros Given-Wilson, Medical Director of St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“It’s vital that clinicians from across health organisations work together on this review, involving our patients and partners from the very beginning. All our hospitals have areas of excellence in the services they provide; we know we can share these areas of excellence. We want to improve quality across the board and protect services for all of our patients. ”

Dr Jane Wilson, Kingston Hospital Medical Director said:

“The challenge currently facing the local NHS is that we need to provide higher quality services in an environment with less money. As clinicians, we want to provide the best quality services we possibly can and improve health outcomes for patients wherever they come from. By working collaboratively on this review, we know we can improve the quality of care for all of our patients.”

Dr James Clarke, Medical Director of Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust said:

“We recognise how important it will be to involve our local partners, especially patients and the public, from the beginning. Our Patient and Public Advisory Group have been working with us and have nominated patient representatives to join the clinical working groups, which include hospital doctors and local GPs. This means patients will be able to give real input on the clinical areas we are reviewing.”

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Notes to editors

The six clinical working groups are:

  1. Planned care and end of life care
  2. Urgent, unscheduled and emergency care
  3. Maternity and newborn care
  4. Children’s services
  5. Polysystems, mental health, long term conditions & staying healthy
  6. Specialist services under London review (cancer, cardiac, paediatrics)

For more information, please contact the communications team at St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust on 020 8725 5151 or email Outside working hours, please page the team by calling 0844 822 2888, leaving a short message and contact details for pager SG548.