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One could go on at great length, but this is what I wrote this morning.



Dear Health for North East London Consultation Team

This morning's press reported that you have received very few responses to your consultation. I would like to tell you why you have not received mine, and why I am writing to you now.

Yesterday I sat down to complete the Questionnaire in the Compact Consultation Document re Health for North East London. The presentation of management issues is excellent. However, after reading it, when I turned to the Questionnaire, I found that I could not answer the individual questions sensibly, and there is no box provided for my one general comment on the whole proposal. So I abandoned my attempt to answer until I saw this morning's papers.

Briefly: This consultation is flawed. I am not in a position to decide whether or not the proposals would provide improved and more cost-effective acute and maternity care overall, and I must rely on NHS Management for that. I can tell you that the thing that matters most to me and my family and community as users of NHS hospital services is not considered. The proposals discuss travel time for the patient at the point where acute treatment is required. They do not consider personal travel time for follow-up treatment for that person, nor associated family logistics.

From the personal perspective, we have to take acute treatment on trust; improvements will show in the statistics, but not necessarily to the individual treated. We would like improved treatment, but it is not something we can control. But when someone is sick, injured or pregnant and needs NHS care, many of the stresses and costs arising relate to the logistics of family management, fitting the daily lives of other people round the care of the person being treated. From this point of view the necessities of finding time and transport to attend and visit the places where treatment is provided assume massive importance. These are huge - and in some cases unaffordable - travel and cost overheads for the families and friends of those being treated. These costs fall to the families, and not directly to the NHS, and they do not seem to have been considered at all.

We live in Ilford, and these have always been issues with King George and Whipps Cross hospitals. Bitter experience and missed appointments have tought me that by car I have to allow 45 minutes to drive and park at either hospital (compare www.tfl.gov.uk's estimate of 9 minutes), 30 minutes to return. By bus I allow an hour each way (vs www.tfl.gov.uk's 26 minutes) . For Queens or the Royal London this would increase by at least half an hour, and the public transport links to Queen's are so bad (www.tfl.gov.uk suggests a train to Romford, and then a 20 minute walk) that Ilford people with any kind of restricted mobility take taxis.

I understand that the transport aspects of this proposal are outside your remit, but you cannot possibly achieve your objectives within your remit without considering them. For this reason I will copy this email to my local councillor, my MP and my GP so that they know my views.

Kind Regards
Caroline Mullan

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