Accident and Emergency Departments

House of Lords written question – answered on 27th October 2014.

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Photo of Baroness McDonagh Baroness McDonagh Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what has been the impact since 2009 of the closure of accident and emergency departments on neighbouring hospitals.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The reconfiguration of local health services is a matter for the local National Health Service. All service changes should be led by clinicians and be in the best interests of patients, not driven from the top down.

It is for NHS commissioners and providers to work together, with local authorities, patients and the public, in bringing forward proposals that will improve the quality, safety and sustainability of healthcare services.

Any changes must be supported by the Government’s four tests for service change, namely:

- support from general practitioner commissioners;- clarity on the clinical evidence base;- robust patient and public engagement; and- support for patient choice.

Once a decision on a local case for change has been made, it is up to the NHS to ensure its local services meet the needs of its population.

More generally, we would expect any local plans for changes to acute services to take full account of the impact on neighbouring hospitals.

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