Council leader Stephen Alambritis has called for Dr Howard Freeman to resign over proposed southwest London budget cuts

Merton health boss must resign over SW London cuts plan, demands council leader

Merton Council leader Stephen Alambritis

Dr Howard Freeman

First published in News
Last updated
Wandsworth Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

The leader of Merton Council has called for the head of the borough’s healthcare to quit today after its five year strategy was published.

Councillor Stephen Alambritis is calling for Dr Howard Freeman to quit his job as chairman of Merton’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) after a meeting between the pair today.

The news comes after plans to save nearly half a billion pounds in healthcare cost across south west London has been dubbed unachievable by health service regulators.

A draft strategy from newly formed South West London Collaborative Commissioning (SWLCC) was published last week stating there is a predicted budget shortfall of £210m over the next five years.

It would be shared between clinical commissioning groups working in Merton, Sutton, Wandsworth, Croydon, Kingston and Richmond.

In addition to this Epsom and St Helier, Croydon, Kingston and St George's NHS trusts have to identify £360m worth of savings over the same time period.

A Merton Council spokesperson said Coun Alambritis met with Dr Freeman and told him that the result of the local council elections last month, at which the future of St Helier Hospital was one of the defining issues, meant his position as chairman was no longer tenable.

Coun Alambritis said: “BSBV has been a fiasco and the voters of Merton delivered a devastating verdict.

“Whilst the local health service were spending millions on flawed plans to shut services at St Helier, Merton’s residents have grown increasingly angry.

“The battle to save St Helier was one of the top issues in the election, and local health bosses must not ignore democracy and just carry on regardless.

“Ultimately, responsibility lies with the chairman, and he has to go.

“His position is untenable, and if he will not do the decent thing and resign, I will be writing to the Health Secretary demanding that he sacks him as chairman.

“Merton’s residents have demanded change, and the chairman needs to respond to that.”

Anne Rainsberry, regional director of NHS England (London), said: "Dr Howard Freeman is a very experienced and respected clinician, not just across London as a whole, but across the entire NHS and has our full support."

Comments (7)

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5:56pm Fri 6 Jun 14

Forty_two says...

I have to say that I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments of Cllr Alambritis on this. Well done to him for saying so.
I have to say that I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments of Cllr Alambritis on this. Well done to him for saying so. Forty_two
  • Score: 17

7:49pm Fri 6 Jun 14

Binsanity says...

Forty_two wrote:
I have to say that I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments of Cllr Alambritis on this. Well done to him for saying so.
Party politics to one side I completely agree with Forty_two. When will they listen.
[quote][p][bold]Forty_two[/bold] wrote: I have to say that I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments of Cllr Alambritis on this. Well done to him for saying so.[/p][/quote]Party politics to one side I completely agree with Forty_two. When will they listen. Binsanity
  • Score: 15

4:05pm Sat 7 Jun 14

Pippa Maslin says...

Speaking as a member of the KOSHH (Keep Our St Helier Hospital) campaign, I am absolutely delighted to read of Councillor Alambritis's call for Dr. Freeman to stand down. Despite various 'events' put on by SWLCC/the SWLCCGs, where one is always assured that one's views count, the government's reorganisation of primary care trusts into CCGs has resulted in a situation/process which feels totally undemocratic. The members of CCGs are not publicly elected representatives, and yet they seem to get to make all of the big decisions concerning local healthcare, using taxpayers' money!

I still cannot get my head around the fact that the local population is growing and people are living longer than before, and yet, SWLCC/the SWLCCGs are not protesting the shortfall and stipulation that savings must be made. It makes no sense to me.
Speaking as a member of the KOSHH (Keep Our St Helier Hospital) campaign, I am absolutely delighted to read of Councillor Alambritis's call for Dr. Freeman to stand down. Despite various 'events' put on by SWLCC/the SWLCCGs, where one is always assured that one's views count, the government's reorganisation of primary care trusts into CCGs has resulted in a situation/process which feels totally undemocratic. The members of CCGs are not publicly elected representatives, and yet they seem to get to make all of the big decisions concerning local healthcare, using taxpayers' money! I still cannot get my head around the fact that the local population is growing and people are living longer than before, and yet, SWLCC/the SWLCCGs are not protesting the shortfall and stipulation that savings must be made. It makes no sense to me. Pippa Maslin
  • Score: 13

5:50pm Sat 7 Jun 14

From beer to uncertainty says...

Pippa Maslin wrote:
Speaking as a member of the KOSHH (Keep Our St Helier Hospital) campaign, I am absolutely delighted to read of Councillor Alambritis's call for Dr. Freeman to stand down. Despite various 'events' put on by SWLCC/the SWLCCGs, where one is always assured that one's views count, the government's reorganisation of primary care trusts into CCGs has resulted in a situation/process which feels totally undemocratic. The members of CCGs are not publicly elected representatives, and yet they seem to get to make all of the big decisions concerning local healthcare, using taxpayers' money! I still cannot get my head around the fact that the local population is growing and people are living longer than before, and yet, SWLCC/the SWLCCGs are not protesting the shortfall and stipulation that savings must be made. It makes no sense to me.
The plan is to drive the NHS into the ground whilst orchestrating media coverage claiming it's all down to immigrants, greedy doctors/nurses and obesity caused by the industry that seems to have MPs in it's pocket.
The latest Health Bill allows 50% of publicly owned hospitals to be used for private patients. Cameron is desperate to shaft the NHS before he's kicked out. Sadly, the Lib dem and Labour scumbags are colluding with him.
[quote][p][bold]Pippa Maslin[/bold] wrote: Speaking as a member of the KOSHH (Keep Our St Helier Hospital) campaign, I am absolutely delighted to read of Councillor Alambritis's call for Dr. Freeman to stand down. Despite various 'events' put on by SWLCC/the SWLCCGs, where one is always assured that one's views count, the government's reorganisation of primary care trusts into CCGs has resulted in a situation/process which feels totally undemocratic. The members of CCGs are not publicly elected representatives, and yet they seem to get to make all of the big decisions concerning local healthcare, using taxpayers' money! I still cannot get my head around the fact that the local population is growing and people are living longer than before, and yet, SWLCC/the SWLCCGs are not protesting the shortfall and stipulation that savings must be made. It makes no sense to me.[/p][/quote]The plan is to drive the NHS into the ground whilst orchestrating media coverage claiming it's all down to immigrants, greedy doctors/nurses and obesity caused by the industry that seems to have MPs in it's pocket. The latest Health Bill allows 50% of publicly owned hospitals to be used for private patients. Cameron is desperate to shaft the NHS before he's kicked out. Sadly, the Lib dem and Labour scumbags are colluding with him. From beer to uncertainty
  • Score: 9

9:48am Sun 8 Jun 14

tjames says...

i would privatize the whole nhs
i would privatize the whole nhs tjames
  • Score: -8

1:23pm Mon 9 Jun 14

Forty_two says...

tjames wrote:
i would privatize the whole nhs
Please tell us why you think this would be a good idea?
[quote][p][bold]tjames[/bold] wrote: i would privatize the whole nhs[/p][/quote]Please tell us why you think this would be a good idea? Forty_two
  • Score: 7

5:23pm Mon 9 Jun 14

Georgia Lewis says...

We also need to get over the myth that we cannot afford the NHS. We can. it is chronically underfunded. Why do they CCGs not lobby for better funding rather than accepting the narrative that £360m needs to be saved?
We also need to get over the myth that we cannot afford the NHS. We can. it is chronically underfunded. Why do they CCGs not lobby for better funding rather than accepting the narrative that £360m needs to be saved? Georgia Lewis
  • Score: 5

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