East of England closure accusations are false

The story 'GPs to replace A&E services' (GP, 16 May) reports Conservative party accusations that NHS East of England will be closing A&E and maternity units as part of the Darzi review.

The implication that the NHS East of England vision suggests the closure of A&E and maternity units is simply false. Last year there were decisions made in Hertfordshire, and supported by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, to centralise A&E services and close two units.

This is historical and was not part of the review. Anyone reading our document will see we clearly state we will keep open the four smaller obstetric units in the east of England. The vision means what it says: a viable future for A&E and maternity, with a new co-located, midwife-led unit across all our trusts.

GPs remain central to the vision. GPs will have new roles in supporting prospective mothers, pre-conception, if they need help. They will support new services for people with long-term conditions and promote the Staying Healthy agenda.

I am a GP. I was involved in drawing up the document and will be involved in the delivery of the final proposals, as we already have plans to turn the existing workstreams over to boards to oversee the process.

I can assure readers that the vision document is a product of hundreds of hours of work by local clinicians, patients and other stakeholders. Its proposals come from local clinicians and address issues raised by patients in the east of England.

Dr Dennis Cox, chairman, Staying Healthy, NHS East of England.

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