Public meeting to save St Helier

February 27, 2013 5:48 PM

Up to 200 people attended the public meeting on the future of the popular local hospital, organised by the Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake.

Local residents gathered at the Carshalton Sports College for Boys to question those behind the recommendations to close the A&E Unit, maternity services and children's ward at the St Helier hospital.

Tom said:

"I organised the meeting to give people the chance to air their views and would like to thank everyone who took that chance and attended."

"The Better Services Better Value (BSBV) will have heard loud and clear that their plans have no support. I want to know what the BSBV team will do as a result of having heard people's concerns during the meeting"

"It is time BSBV listened."

The meeting was chaired by Cllr Dave Callaghan. The panel of speakers included MPs Tom Brake, Paul Burstow and Siobhain McDonagh, Cllr Colin Stears and the founder of the Carshalton Mums, Kathy McGuiness. The Sutton Youth Parliament Member Johnoi Josephs, who is a pupil at the Carshalton Boys, also gave a short speech. BSBV was represented by Mr Mike Bailey, BSBV Joint Medical Director and Dr Marilyn Plant.

In their presentation, BSBV insisted that their review was about improving the quality of care. They maintained that consolidating services on fewer sites could improve the quality of service, and ultimately save lives. Closing some units was necessary, they argued, if the resources available are to be managed effectively.

But the local residents were unconvinced and were eager to challenge the BSBV representatives. Although limited time meant that not everyone was given the chance to speak, a number of critical questions were raised. Many shared personal stories and experiences, voicing their concerns over the proposals. A few struggled to conceal their anger

Tom added:

"BSBV have not convinced people that there's going to be a medical benefit derived from the changes they are proposing. They have so far failed to convince me, and I don't think they have managed to convince the general public either."

"I appreciate the fact they agreed to take part in our meeting. However, their presentation did nothing to alleviate people's concerns."

Paul Burstow MP said:

"BSBV is so full of holes if it were a boat it would have sunk long ago. The public meeting exposed yet more flaws in this discredited process.

"For example, BSBV don't have any idea how many nurses and other non doctor healthcare professionals they will need to deliver their plans."

The meeting was part of the ongoing campaign to keep the vital frontline services at St Helier open. If you would like to find out more, or get involved, go to http://www.saveoursthelier.co.uk/. If you haven't already signed the online petition but would like to do so, please got to www.tombrake.co.uk/saveoursthelier

Up to 200 people attended the public meeting on the future of the St Helier hospital

Up to 200 people attended the public meeting on the future of the St Helier hospital

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