Concerns raised over St George's Hospital waiting lists
7:00am Sunday 26th August 2012 in News
Concerns have been raised over St George's Hospital's ability to cope if proposed frontline closures to St Helier hospital go ahead, after it emerged the Tooting hospital is missing waiting list targets.
The letter leaked to the Wandsworth Guardian reveals that in some cases patients at St George's have breached the national 18 week referral to treatment waiting time target.
The document asks SW London GPs not to refer patients to St George's specialities including upper spinal surgery, Ear Nose and Throat and gynaecology.
As part of a healthcare review earlier this year, Better Services Better Value (BSBV), it was recommended that a south west London hospital should lose its A&E and maternity departments.
St Helier Hospital, in Carshalton, was eventually chosen meaning St Helier's A&E and maternity patients would be sent to St George's.
But the letter from NHS SW London medical directors has raised concerns surrounding the hospital's ability to cope with future changes.
It states the problems at St George's date back to the introduction of a new patient reporting system at the trust and difficulties are compounded because the hospital is busy.
The letter advises all GPs in SW London to refer their patients, in five different specialities, to alternative providers including St Helier until January 2013.
A spokesman for St George's Hospital said: "A plan has been developed with our clinical commissioners to help us address the short term capacity issues the trust currently faces with a few very specialist treatments which are very popular with patients and GPs from across south west London and Surrey.
"This includes working with other NHS providers and asking GPs to consider referring their patients to these other local hospitals that have spare capacity for these specialities over the next few months."