Sutton leaders take St Helier Hospital campaign to the very top

August 13, 2012 11:27 AM

Tom Brake MP and Sutton Council Leader Ruth Dombey have successfully demanded an emergency meeting with the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, to urge him to intervene and save St Helier Hospital's A&E, maternity and children's wards.

The leading Lib Dem politicians will tell Mr Lansley how vital St Helier is to local people and ask him to step in and halt the plans to downgrade the hospital at a private meeting in the Minister's office on 10 September.

Since May this year Sutton residents and politicians have united to fight a vigorous campaign against a NHS Better Services Better Value review which recommended that Croydon, Kingston and St George's hospitals retain their A&E wards while St Helier's is closed and the hospital becomes a centre for planned surgery across south west London.

Tom Brake, MP for Carshalton and Wallington, said: "This meeting with the Minister gives us the chance to explain to him why this plan is wrong-headed and entirely unworkable.

"The campaign to save St Helier Hospital has gathered huge support and we will keep fighting to preserve this vital facility for local people."

The BSBV review has been mired in controversy since it began. The NHS boasted that it was the most comprehensive review ever undertaken comprising in depth reports into six crucial health elements planned care, emergency care, maternity and newborn care, children's services, long-term conditions and end of life care.

Yet when the Panel met to reach its conclusions, the vital report on children's services had not even been completed and was not available to be considered.

Since then the influential National Clinical Advisory Team has demanded that the plans be revised, the business case for the proposal has not been offered for consideration and a series of revelations about the cost of the proposal and doubts about how it will be funded have further undermined its credibility.

Cllr Ruth Dombey said: "This plan is simply ridiculous. If it were implemented, it would have a disastrous impact on healthcare in south west London for generations. We mustn't allow this to happen.

"We will lay out the real facts for the Secretary of State, explain that the proposals do not make financial or medical sense and urge him to put a stop to the proposed consultation which will cost around £2 million."

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