CROYDON University Hospital's A&E, maternity and children's units could close under plans being considered by a review of healthcare in south west London. A report published today (Friday) includes the option of downgrading Croydon from a major acute to a local hospital. Losing major services in Croydon is listed as the 'least preferred' of three choices being considered by the controversial Better Services, Better Value (BSBV) review. The favoured option is for Croydon to remain as a major hospital, alongside St George's and Kingston, with Epsom and St Helier hospitals to lose out. John Goulston, chief executive of Croydon Health Services, believes the announcement has secured the future of his hospital's key departments. He said: "It is extremely good news for Croydon that the hospital is included in two options as a major site, with A&E, children and maternity services. "I fully support the BSBV review and the changes recommended are vital for the clinical sustainability of 25/7 services. "By keeping Croydon's major acute hospital, more patients will receive treatment at the places where they are currently seen, while getting a more consistent standard of care. "We are making continued progress and investment in the hospital which, together with the aims of BSBV, is all in the interests of patients, their families and staff." Croydon University Hospital treated 120,000 patients in its A&E department last year. The BSBV preferred option names St George's, in Tooting, as a major acute teaching hospital, with an A&E, maternity and specialist children's unit and ward. Two major acute hospitals, at Kingston and Croydon, would provide emergency and urgent care, as well as maternity services, an attached midwife-led unit and children's inpatient wards. Epsom will become a local hospital with a planned care centre, with St Helier, in Sutton, retaining local services only. It is estimated that restricting services in this way would save £40 million, and mean that 82 per cent of patients will continue to attend the same hospitals as they do now. Downgrading Croydon and retaining St Helier instead would save more money than the alternative option of the latter being kept as a major acute instead. Over 100 doctors, nurses, midwives, health professionals and patients were involved in drawing up the proposals. A 12 to 14 week public consultation into the proposals is due to start in the summer. This will include 14 public events, two in each borough, and a roadshow in supermarkets and train stations.
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