St Helier Hospital campaigners mark coming down of banner

Campaigners outside St Helier Hospital

Campaigners outside St Helier Hospital

First published in News Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

Dozens of campaigners got together to mark the coming down of the St Helier Hospital banner at the weekend.

The prominent banner had been on the front of the hospital for some time, and stated Epsom and St Helier trust's intentions to spend £219m on a major redevelopment of the hospital.

But it emerged in February this year the plan was unlikely to go ahead due to the uncertainty it had faced under the Better Services Better Value (BSBV) programme which was scrapped.

People holding brightly coloured signs attracted passing drivers to honk their horns at the group of around 50 people who gathered outside the hospital on Saturday, March 1.

The group, including campaigners and councillors, were showing their ongoing support for saving St Helier Hospital in Wrythe Lane.

Sally Kenny, founder of the Lower Morden Residents group to Save St Helier Hospital said: "The banner misled the public.

"Now it is not misleading the public but the money it sitting somewhere between the hospital and the Treasury.

"We wanted to go down to show we want to save the hospital."

MP for Mitcham and Morden Siobhain McDonagh was among those to attend on Saturday, March 1.

She said: "The money to redevelop St Helier Hospital is sitting in the Treasury.

"It was agreed by the last Labour Government and supported by George Osborne in this Government but they are not using the money when it's clearly needed.

"They put the banner up because they were proud that the money was there - what's changed?"

The six clinical commissioning groups in south west London will now focus on developing a five year strategy for healthcare in the region, rather than continuing with the BSBV review.

The chief executive of St Helier Hospital, Matthew Hopkins, said: "It has been a long road for us, which involved times of uncertainty for the future of our services, our patients and our staff.

"I’d like to thank our staff and volunteers who throughout this time have kept their focus on the day job and have continued to provide high quality care to our patients.

"We are absolutely committed to working with our clinical commissioning groups in further improving healthcare in the region.

"Patients should be assured that the broad range of outpatient, day case and inpatient services remain available at our two main sites."

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