Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond rejects accusation he has "betrayed" St Helier Hospital

Wimbledon Guardian: MP Stephen Hammond MP Stephen Hammond

Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond has hit back after the Labour-led council accused him of "betraying" St Helier Hospital.

Mr Hammond voted in favour of Clause 119 in the Care Bill on Tuesday, March 11, giving the health secretary new powers to close hospitals.

The Merton Labour Group announced on Friday they were putting forward a motion for debate stating they are "appalled" at the Tory MP's behaviour.

Responding today, Mr Hammond said: "I am saddened that the Labour Party has tabled this motion and now broken the cross party consensus on St Helier Hospital.

"Anyone who has followed local politics will know I oppose the closure of St Helier and have consistently done so ever since I entered local politics, which is well before Coun Alambritis was ever a councillor.

"Of course Clause 119 has nothing to do with the closure of St Helier. It is all about the quality of patient care and allows the Secretary of State to appoint a special administrator in exceptional circumstances.

"As the care is widely recognised as excellent at St Helier, the clause is not relevant to this local health unit.

"Moreover it is equally irrelevant as it cannot be used in current circumstances where local clinicians are deciding."

The failed healthcare review, Better Services Better Value (BSBV), was axed in February after twice recommending the hospital's A&E, maternity and children's services be closed.

However, a consquence of the review is a £219m redevelopment of St Helier Hospital promised in 2010 is unlikely to go ahead due to the uncertainty it has faced under BSBV.

Mr Hammond said: "Of course the good news is that with BSBV finished, St Helier is not under any threat in the near future.

"I am glad that I, along with Merton Conservatives, played our part in securing that outcome for local people.

"However we must remain vigilant and that is why I met with Dr Howard Freeman this weekend and he has assured me that there is no threat to St Helier or its services."

Mr Hammond accused Stephen Alambritis, leader of Merton Council, of "cheap party politicking" over an important issue.

He said he will write to Coun Alambritis asking him to withdraw the motion.

The council is due to debate the motion on Wednesday, April 2.

Comments (2)

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6:35pm Tue 25 Mar 14

Hove Ex-Pat says...

I don't support Labour either, but Mr Hammond how on earth can you claim to support St Helier & Epsom when you voted to support clause 119 in the care bill. I also do not recall seeing you outside St Helier Hospital with the others.
So do not cry now, this was caused by your inactivity in the past. You are obviously unable to stand up for your constituents, just suck up to your party, rather like the MP for Epsom & Ewell does too.
I don't support Labour either, but Mr Hammond how on earth can you claim to support St Helier & Epsom when you voted to support clause 119 in the care bill. I also do not recall seeing you outside St Helier Hospital with the others. So do not cry now, this was caused by your inactivity in the past. You are obviously unable to stand up for your constituents, just suck up to your party, rather like the MP for Epsom & Ewell does too. Hove Ex-Pat
  • Score: 1

1:08pm Fri 28 Mar 14

tjames says...

st helier is not in his constituency--nor in mcdonuts or merton
st helier is not in his constituency--nor in mcdonuts or merton tjames
  • Score: -1

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