Sutton's politicians slam plans to cut two A&E departments

Politicians slam plans to cut two A&E departments

Paul Bursow and Tom Brake

Geoff Martin from London Health Emergency

Sutton council leader Ruth Dombey

Chief exec Matthew Hopkins

St Helier Hospital

First published in Save St Helier Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

Politicians have slammed a controversial plan to cut two A&Es in the region.

Yesterday, the Better Services Better Value review recommended that two hospitals out of St Helier, Epsom, Kingston or Croydon University Hospital should lose their A&E and maternity departments.

The MP for Sutton and Cheam, Paul Burstow, called the process “flawed” and accused BSBV of fitting the evidence to justify their conclusions. 

He said:  “BSBV is making heroic assumptions to make their numbers add up.

"Where does quality come into BSBVs thinking? Again it seems that they are discounting the current performance of each of the hospitals and instead making assumptions that some hospitals will stage dramatic improvements over the next few years.

“One quality measure is St Helier is out performing its neighbours that’s why mothers are voting with their feet and choosing to have their babies at the hospital."

Geoff Martin of pressure group London Health Emergency said we have to drag the local MPs right into the spot light and demand that they stand and support their local hospitals.

He said: “The consequences [of BSBV] would be total carnage and we need to stop that happening.

“This is a matter of life and death now. It’s nothing to do with improving care. It’s about cutting money to fit spending targets.”

Tom Brake the MP for Carshalton and Wallington said he feared that if St Helier’s patients go to larger units elsewhere there could be lost time, miscommunication and a lack of continuity in people’s care.

He said: “Clearly this is even more disappointing news on the hospital front.

“With the addition of an extra hospital it seems they are adamant in proceeding with the same level of closures. This will just redouble my resolve to campaign to save the services people rely on at St Helier Hospital.

“They are offering a something of quality five years down the line at a different hospital but they have got a quality hospital at St Helier now.”

The two MPs and the leader of Sutton Council are meeting with health minister Anna Soubry today to discuss their concerns.

Coun Dombey said: “If Sutton were to lose these services it would mean our residents would be without local first class medical care.

“We are dedicated to ensuring this doesn’t happen and as a council we will continue to back the hospital in its time of need.”

A similar announcement was made in March last year and after a scoring panel and financial appraisal it was recommended that St Helier should be the one to face the cuts.

However BSBV, which has already cost taxpayers £2m, is carrying out the same review again but this time including Epsom Hospital in the process.

Matthew Hopkins, the chief executive of Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "Our patients, as well as local people and staff, will have many questions about the new Better Services Better Value recommendations and may be concerned about what they mean for our hospitals.

"I think it is extremely important to remember that they are only recommendations at this stage and apply to all five hospitals (whilst recognising St George's Hospital's special position). 

“Crucially, absolutely no decisions have been made about which sites would be affected and further work needs to be done to determine whether the recommendations would work in practice. 

"As such, BSBV have committed, over the next four weeks, to develop their preferred proposals and will need to look at the impact they have on patient travel times, NHS staff numbers and what it would mean in terms of finances.”

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