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Sutton MPs Fight for their Local NHS

October 18, 2006 2:33 PM

MPs Tom Brake, Paul Burstow and Siobhain McDonagh held crisis talks about the future of St Helier Hospital with the Rt. Hon Patricia Hewitt MP, Secretary of State for Health on Tuesday evening in the Upper Ministerial corridor.

Tom Brake outside St HelierDuring their meeting, the Secretary of State had to field questions about the review of health services in the Sutton area, the planning advice that ruled out St Helier as the site for the new Critical Care Hospital and the impact of short-term financial problems on long-term investment plans.

Tom Brake said, "There weren't any crumbs of comfort left on the table after our meeting. The Secretary of State made it clear that South West London and St Helier Hospital in particular must help address the fact that there are too many hospital beds across London as a whole. That means we can expect both Accident and Emergency and hospital closures in our part of London."

Paul Burstow added, "At last the truth is out, the question we have been asking for years about the plan for a new hospital and network of nine local hospitals, 'Is it affordable?' has been answered. And the answer from the Secretary of State was simply no.

"Now we learn that because of long term funding problems elsewhere in London NHS services in the London Borough of Sutton are to be put under the microscope.

After seven years of consultation all my constituents have is the promise of cuts and closures. The money spent on consultancy, staff and management time has been poured down the drain."

Tom Brake and Paul Burstow are to write to the Secretary of State to ask her to explain why her department did not challenge the planning advice obtained by the Board of Better Health Care Closer to Home.

The Secretary of State has promised to write to the MPs explaining how the process will work from now on and the timetable it will follow.

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