GPs in Epsom and Ewell, Mole Valley, Reigate and Banstead and Elmbridge have voted overwhelmingly against the Better Services Better Value proposals to remove acute services from Epsom Hospital. An even larger proportion said they wanted the future of Epsom Hospital decided in a Surrey context and not part of a London review.
The secret ballot, instigated by local MPs Chris Grayling, Sir Paul Beresford, Dominic Raab and Crispin Blunt, was sent to all GPs practicing in the new Surrey Downs commissioning area, and the result was independently counted and verified by the Returning Officer at Mole Valley District Council.
The new Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group and the Better Services Better Value review team had previously said that local GPs were behind the scheme. But doctors voted by two to one against the plans for Epsom hospital to be downgraded and by more than four to one in favour of decisions about Epsom being taken in a Surrey context.
Chris Grayling said:
"We organised this ballot because we did not believe that local doctors really agreed with what is going on, and the result clearly shows that we were right. This vote was carried out in secret, was independently verified, and it shows that the controversial plans for Epsom are not just opposed by the public but by the doctors as well. I think this result marks the death knell of Better Services Better Value, and I hope that all involved will now call a halt and stop wasting public money on a review that, in the context of Epsom and Surrey, has never added up."
The questions to the GP's and voting results were:
Are you in favour of the BSBV proposals to remove A & E and Maternity Services from Epsom Hospital?
Would you support a separate process to consider the future of Epsom Hospital as part of the Surrey and not SW London health economy?