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Local MPs raise alarm over St. Helier’s future

July 14, 2011 4:35 PM

Sutton's MPs, Paul Burstow and Tom Brake, are calling for the local NHS to pause, listen and reflect over plans for a "headlong rush to merger with St George's".

The two MPs have told local and London NHS bosses that the plans for a merger with St George's lack legitimacy because they have failed to secure support from hospital doctors, GPs and local Councils. The MPs are stepping up the pressure by launching an on-line petition to London NHS boss, Ruth Carnell.

St George's NHS Trust was the only Trust to bid for St Helier. However, St George's is struggling with a series of financial difficulties and recently has seen the departure of its Chief Executive. Amidst growing concerns that St George's will 'asset strip' St Helier, the Borough's MPs want the merger process to be put on hold to give both St Helier and St George's the time to sort themselves out and allow other NHS hospitals to come forward.

Paul Burstow MP said, "I have been hard-pressed to find anyone in favour of this merger plan. Health professionals and local councillors feel bounced. There is growing alarm at the haste with which this process is moving.

"The future of St Helier depends crucially on support from clinicians, without that essential goodwill, a merger will become a hostile take-over. From my discussions with consultants, it is clear to me that the relationships between the two hospitals are toxic, hardly the basis for a genuine marriage in the public interest.

Tom Brake MP said, "The priority here is to get the best deal for St Helier, not the fastest one. The Government has just completed a major national NHS listening exercise, local Health bosses must do the same; stop, pause, take on board people's concerns and come back with a better offer."

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