070415 Dirty Tactics

15th April 2007

On May 3rd residents in Guildford Borough Council’s wards will have the opportunity to vote for the best candidate (or candidates) to represent them for the next four years.

The Conservatives have decided to hijack the issue on everyone’s minds (and supported by all political parties and independent candidates) and are fighting under the slogan ‘Conservatives: stop the hospital cuts’.  Please, everyone, bear in mind that it is by no means disloyal to the Royal Surrey to vote for your preferred candidate ahead of this cynical campaign.

The Lib Dems in Onslow ward are fighting on the basis that a vote for the Labour candidate or the Independent candidate (me) is a wasted vote.  This is more bullying tactics aimed at frightening those voters who may prefer not to let the Conservatives get in so that they vote Lib Dem.

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070407 Royal Surrey

Letter to Surrey Advertiser


In your article “Delay fears hang over consultation” (Surrey Ad 6th April) you report an alarmingly disingenuous statement from the PCT on the status of consultation.  The process is well under way but it does not look like a consultation about the future of the Royal Surrey County Hospital; rather, it is a management-consultant-driven ‘strategy’ consultation about the future of health-care generally.

I have spent the past few days reading a document issued by the Department of Health entitled “Commissioning framework for health and well-being” which was published on 6th March and requires feedback by 28th May.  This document spells out how the combined forces of the Department of Health (DoH) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) are going to turn us all into such healthy people we will not need the majority of the hospital functions in the future.

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070402 Civic Hall

Letter to Surrey Advertiser


Further to letters from both Cllr Rooth and Michel Harper (Surrey Ad 30th March) I am very angry at the combination of (1) the damaging effect of party politics on the Civic Hall and its budgets, and (2) the inappropriate way in which the Executive of the Council sought to agree a sale of the ‘hotel’ site without adequate exposure to market.

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070401 RSCH Letter

Letter to Secretary of State for Health

1st April 2007

 Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt MP,

Secretary of State for Health,
Department of Health,
Richmond House,
79, Whitehall,London,

Dear Mrs Hewitt

In the matter of:  The Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford

A matter of 111 days ago I wrote the attached letter to you and have not yet received the courtesy of an acknowledgement or reply.

I would be grateful if you would address my concerns as yet again there appear to be significant manipulations of process and data surrounding the consultation process.

On this occasion the manipulation to which I refer is the adoption of partial answers to loaded questions in assessing the clinicians’ views of scenarios (gathered at meetings on 29th and 30th January) in a subsequent publication by Matrix Research and Consultancy called “West Surrey Health Community: Squaring the Triangle”.

This latter document comprises comments not supported by the RSCH clinicians and which have a considerable amount of life-threatening flawed logic – particularly with regard to the vast areas of Surrey and Sussex which would be too far from any hospital to have a reasonable expectation of surviving serious trauma events where the speed of delivery to hospital are of paramount importance.

Furthermore, I understand that the proposal adopted was thatFrimleyParkHospitaland Ashford St Peter’s Hospital retain their A&E presence at the expense of theRoyalSurreyCountyHospital.  The minutes of this meeting have not been signed off by the RSCH clinicians as a true and accurate reflection of the discussions.

The ‘Emerging Principles’ referred to in the document comprise, for example, the contention that a full A&E department “in the future would need to be supported by a catchment population of between 450,000 and 500,000 people”. This seems to be based on residents whereas some of the major pressures on the regional healthcare systems (both on a frequent and disaster basis) are related to the transience of population and this should take account of the transport networks (rail, trunk roads, motorways, airports) in an assessment of catchment.

The thought that no emergency healthcare provision can be provided locally for rural communities is frankly appalling and your urgent reassessment of this is required.  Having read the “Commissioning Framework for Health and Well-Being” I am convinced that the approach seems to be an urban-centric one, where access to a variety of care provisions can be provided for a ‘critical mass’ of population.  Under these circumstances there are two major observations I would seek to have you respond to:

1)            How can it be appropriate to completely re-engineer patient care – to the extent the patient becomes fully responsible for its own well-being but (assuming it can assimilate all of the management consultants’ reports and identify the community-based structures that will be put in place) it will have access to a wide range of support – whilst at the same time dragging away the safety nets of A&E and other emergency care?  How many patients will have to die in order to educate the population as a whole in how to survive in the brave new world of devolved responsibility?

2)            How much duplication of resource (both capital and personnel) will there need to be to ensure that patients (in the utopian long-term that the academics and management consultants have defined) do not fall between the cracks.  Has the Social Exclusion Unit yet managed to complete its task of ensuring total inclusivity of public policy?

These are very real concerns and there are lives attaching to getting not only the long-term vision right but also the means of migrating to that vision if it is even appropriate to do so.

I believe the round of hospital cuts and closures you are currently supervising is putting the cart before the horse and I reiterate my concerns and proposed recourse to action should this not be tackled with the due fiduciary care you hold as Secretary of State for Health to the population as a whole and to the rights of individuals within our society.

I await your urgent response.

Yours sincerely

Julian D S Lyon

cc        Anne Milton, Member of Parliament for Guildford