VIDEO: Fun day gets serious over cuts to St Helier

Wimbledon Guardian: Fun day gets serious over cuts to St Helier Fun day gets serious over cuts to St Helier

Residents turned out in force at the weekend to protest at proposed cuts to St Helier Hospital services.

Hundreds descended on the green outside the hospital to voice their concerns at plans to close it's casualty, children's, and maternity wards.

Although billed as a community fun day there was a serious message underpinning the event to save the under-threat services.

Among those to give their unwavering support to the cause was guest speaker Dr Phillip Howard, a senior consultant at the hospital.

He told the crowd: "The BSBV (Better Service Better Value) board has decided to push through plans to substantially cut our services.

The board has identified £370 million of cuts annually by 2016/2017. This is 24 per cent of the annual budget for the hospitals. I'm not aware of any health service in the western world which has achieved a 24 per cent cut."

Eight boxes representing a number of petitions set up against the cuts - which have together amassed more than 30,000 against the cuts - were handed to Dr David Finch.

They included the Sutton Guardian's Save St Helier petition, that currently has more than 1,720 signatures.

Dr Finch, local GP and joint medical director for BSBV, was booed as he received the boxes and was confronted by a group of angry women shortly after.

Dr Finch said: "We are trying to handle this the best way possible and we want to hear people's views. We are not being secretive, we want everything to be published so people can see for themselves the evidence. People are scared but I urge them to read the consultation and give us their views."

Recently ousted care minister, and MP for Sutton and Cheam Paul Burstow said the figures produced by BSBV did not add up.

He said: "The figures are based on the assumption that 60 per cent of people in A&E do not need to be there. The time estimates are based on travelling in an ambulance, but not everyone who goes to A&E goes in an ambulance."

Mr Burstow said he expected to see a rise in the amount of mothers giving birth in cars as travelling to Croydon or Tooting would take too long.

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