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Shock announcement reveals £219m redevelopment of St Helier Hospital 'probably' off the table

The much-anticipated £219m redevelopment of St Helier Hospital is ‘probably’ off the table, a shock announcement has revealed today.

Sutton Guardian: A banner still adorns St Helier Hospital saying the redevelopment is 'coming soon' A banner still adorns St Helier Hospital saying the redevelopment is 'coming soon'

The multi-million pound investment in the hospital was hailed as a ‘real victory for local residents’ when it was unveiled in 2010 including a brand new state-of-the-art hospital building, hundreds of new beds and a new day nursery.

Sutton Guardian:

A model of how the new hospital was expected to look

But an announcement today from the MP for Mitcham and Morden, Siobhain McDonagh, revealed the promise is unlikely to go ahead.

A letter sent to Miss McDonagh, on January 24, from the chief officer of Merton Clinical Commissioning Group, Eleanor Brown, said the plans would need commissioner support as well as additional revenue costs which would “probably be unaffordable in the current financial context”.

She added: “It is for this reason that the re-development does not feature as one of the Long-Term Financial Modelling (LTFM) scenarios being worked up by the trust at this stage.”

The business plan was approved in 2010 by the government with chancellor George Osborne announcing the plans were safe amid concerns that it could be compromised during government cut-backs. 

Over the last few years St Helier Hospital has been hampered by the Better Services Better Value (BSBV) healthcare review which has twice threatened to axe its A&E, maternity and children’s services. In the midst of the review, in 2012, the government stated the £219m investment was secure.

BSBV commonly referred to St Helier's redevelopment as a "fixed point" in the review and said they remained fully committed to it even if the the redevelopment was different to what was initially proposed.

BSBV's most recent plans collapsed at the end of last year and today's news is the first real indication the hospital will no longer receive the promised funds.


Sutton Guardian: Siobhain McDonagh has been replaced as a Labour Party assistant whip

Miss McDonagh said: "This news represents an appalling betrayal by this government. St Helier is clearly still under threat of losing our A&E, maternity and other services, and now the redevelopment promised 4 years ago by the previous Government has also been taken off the table.

"Anyone who thinks the battle to Save St Helier is being won needs to think again, and the whole community must step up the fight to save this popular local hospital."


Sutton Guardian: Paul Burstow: 'MPs are not above the law'

Sutton and Cheam MP Paul Burstow blamed BSBV for causing delays to the rebuild of St Helier Hospital and said: “It is by no means the end of the road in terms of the rebuild.

“It’s a proposal that was made in 2008/9 and which got approved by the last government and signed off by the current government.

“Obviously it is based on assessments done a very long time ago. £219m is a misleading figure now.

“One thing the Epsom and St Helier Trust need to do with the public is to tell them what they are going to do.

“I share the disappointment many people have. But that disappointment should fall squarely with BSBV and the damage caused by uncertainty.”


Sutton Guardian: NHS calling: Geoff Martin continues to fight for good causes

Geoff Martin, chair of pressure group London Health Emergency, said: "This announcement comes as no surprise. We warned years ago that the redevelopment of St Helier was a con cooked up to fool local people and now we have been proved right.

"This betrayal of the people of Sutton rests with the government of which local MPs Brake and Burstow are members and no doubt they will cop the full wrath at the election for going along with this disgraceful charade.

"The rest of us will continue the fight to save our local hospital and the NHS from this governments cuts."


Sutton Guardian:

Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake said: “I am angry that in spite of reassurances at the time that the BSBV process wouldn’t impact on the Better Healthcare Closer to Home programme it was always clear it would in a dramatic way.

“The important thing now is to maintain pressure on the Sutton CCG to ensure they fight for the full range of services at St Helier Hospital. 

"This is exactly where I am focusing my campaigning efforts."


A spokesperson for the Epsom and St Helier trust said until BSBV was concluded they could not confirm or speculate about any changes to the redevelopment of St Helier Hospital.

They said: “In the meantime, we, along with other NHS trusts across the country, are developing a business plan for the future of our hospitals, which provides details of how we will continue to provide high quality care in an affordable, efficient way. 

"The business plans, which detail our two and five year plans and will include information on how we redevelop our hospitals, are yet to be approved by the Trust Board, our local commissioning groups and the NHS Trust Development Authority (the body which oversees all non-Foundation Trusts). 

“We would like to reassure patients that, during this time of planning and approval, our priority will remain – as it always has – to provide each and every patient with compassionate, expert care.”

What do you think about the latest announcement? Email ssleigh@london.newsquest.co.uk 
 


Comments (28)

03/02/14

Niki R says...

Another betrayal of local people and hospital staff. Will that banner come down now, after a year of campaigners asking why it's still hanging there misleading people? And what do Sutton CCG have to say- will they finally stick their heads up and speak for local people? This news breaks my heart. We have worked so hard to save St Helier, and we are consistently betrayed at every turn by MPs and the Department of Health. Remember which Government secured £219m for our hospital and out community, and which parties plundered it when they wanted to punish us.

03/02/14

Siobhan Tate says...

A further threat to St Helier Hospital is the Hospital Closure Clause (clause 118 of the Care Bill) which puts our hospital in real jeopardy. Ask Tom Brake MP to act to have the clause removed from the Care Bill by signing our petition at http://www.change.or
g/en-GB/petitions/to
m-brake-oppose-and-v
ote-against-clause-1
18-of-the-care-bill

03/02/14

Giles C says...

Didn't the great comedy duo of Brake and Burstow "guarantee" this would be built...?

No surprises there then..

03/02/14

Danny Bhoy says...

Let's just be clear about what this was - it's a loan from the Treasury, not a grant. It is not free money, it has to be repaid. I'd suggest the last thing the hospital needs right now is another £200m worth of debt.

03/02/14

mr-bjp says...

NO momey for our hospitals nor the flood victims but this government can afford to send millions of pounds to foreign countries.

03/02/14

Marie from Sutton says...

The £219m has been off the table for months. How come this is new news?!

03/02/14

Forty_two says...

Marie from Sutton wrote:
The £219m has been off the table for months. How come this is new news?!
Have you a source for this information Marie? Please post a link.

03/02/14

Forty_two says...

I wonder how much of the £219m has already been "allocated" to cover the costs of BSBV??

03/02/14

sjsunny says...

I would like to know the exact amount of money which has been spent on the various reviews, consultations etc etc with regard to both St Helier and Epsom hospitals.

03/02/14

Nichu44 says...

Surprise surprise. I suspect the money will find itself in the hands of private clinics soon enough.

03/02/14

Niki R says...

sjsunny wrote:
I would like to know the exact amount of money which has been spent on the various reviews, consultations etc etc with regard to both St Helier and Epsom hospitals.
Thanks to a Freedom of Information request, I have some info as to what money BSBV wasted... Including £140k plus on 'social media training.' If you've ever seen their Twiitter feed you'd be wondering why they weren't demanding a refund...

03/02/14

Niki R says...

Brake and Burstow need to raise their game and fast- put constituents before Conservatives and oppose Clause 118. No excuses, no bleating- just grow a spine between you and stand with us against it.

03/02/14

GreenBrown says...

Niki R wrote:
Another betrayal of local people and hospital staff. Will that banner come down now, after a year of campaigners asking why it's still hanging there misleading people? And what do Sutton CCG have to say- will they finally stick their heads up and speak for local people? This news breaks my heart. We have worked so hard to save St Helier, and we are consistently betrayed at every turn by MPs and the Department of Health. Remember which Government secured £219m for our hospital and out community, and which parties plundered it when they wanted to punish us.
"Remember which Government secured £219m for our hospital and out community,"

Oh, we certainly won't forget that government. The NHS as a whole is under threat. Apart from massive, unchecked health tourism that has been sucking it dry for years the other main problem is the PFI debts that so many hospitals have to pay........and I quote.....

Writing in the New Statesman, John Pilger said: "With scant media attention, the Blair government has transferred billions of pounds' worth of public services into private hands under the private finance initiative (PFI). The "fees", or rake-off, for PFI projects in 2006-2007 will be in the order of £6.3bn, more than the cost of many of the projects: a historic act of corporate piracy."

also........

Many NHS Trusts are now experiencing serious financial difficulties and, if the level of government spending falls, may become insolvent. In some cases Trusts are having to 'rationalise' spending by closing wards and laying off staff, but they are not allowed to default on their PFI payments: "In September 1997 the government declared that these payments would be legally guaranteed: beds, doctors, nurses and managers could be sacrificed, but not the annual donation to the Fat Cats Protection League". Should certain Trusts fail because they cannot meet their PFI payments, this will provide further opportunities for privatisation if the government brings in private healthcare corporations to run the hospitals instead.

Labour started the NHS and it would seem Labour ultimately destroyed it. Shameful.

04/02/14

ResidentTony says...

GreenBrown - never saw you as an NS reader..........It's a good read, no doubt about it, but you shouldn't believe everything it prints. Blair was pretty good. He just gets a bad press.

Pity the powers-that-be don't spend more on Ops, and less on Apps. It's a mad world!

04/02/14

Binsanity says...

Obvious that the Lib-Dems have carried on Labours good work. None of these three so called main parties have any care in the community they would supposedly serve. Time to make a difference.

04/02/14

Niki R says...

Inaccurate and unwarranted. Local Labour members have been at the forefront of the St Helier campaign and you can't ignore that. Honestly, you sound like Lib Dems yourselves gentlemen.

04/02/14

tjames says...

another libdim achievement?

04/02/14

EwellMan says...

Seems tragic......the Governmnet can waste 9billion pounds on a failed computer system and not one person jailed or held accountable but they can stop things like this whih in comparrision is a tiny sum.

04/02/14

Sameer the First says...

As I understand it, the proposals to reorganise hospitals and have a more centralised service started under the last Labour government. There was a programme called Healthcare for South West London long before BSBV or this Government which proposed very similar things. I'm a Labour voter usually, but we shouldn't try to hoodwink people about this. As I see it, the best chance of a big refurb at St helier would have been the BSBV option under which it kept its services. The repayments on any Treasury funding would be crippling.

04/02/14

Marie from Sutton says...

Forty_two says...
How do I know? I just asked a member of the team while visiting Sutton Hospital a few months ago.

04/02/14

alroutemaster says...

This is no surprise to me. St. Helier has one of the most appalling public transport links of any hospital I know. That's why when my doctor tries to send me there I always ask to be referred to St. Georges.

04/02/14

Michael Pantlin says...

That monster banner across the front of out St. Helier District General Hospital has always been an irritation to me as the promise on it is not signed making no-one responsible for it. Who ever ordered it to be put up (at what cost?) should be named and shamed and never believed again. I've always preferred that the hospital be not rebuilt but the money used instead TO KEEP IT GOING AS IT IS NOW. The money might be "off the table" but for me St. George's Tooting is off the map, too far away with no community link to Carshalton and Sutton.

04/02/14

Michael Pantlin says...

That impressionistic photo that's often wheeled out purporting to show how the hospital might look after rebuilding is a disgrace because it doesn't indicate it orientationation. At the least it should show the position of Wrythe Lane.

04/02/14

GreenBrown says...

ResidentTony wrote:
GreenBrown - never saw you as an NS reader..........It's a good read, no doubt about it, but you shouldn't believe everything it prints. Blair was pretty good. He just gets a bad press.

Pity the powers-that-be don't spend more on Ops, and less on Apps. It's a mad world!
I don't read the NS I just quoted from it. Nothing I said is false, it just depends on whether you agree with PFI or not. It has already happened and it is a disgrace.

"Blair was pretty good. He just gets a bad press."

I've heard it all now. The man was the worst thing to happen to this country. History will not be kind to him. I've never heard of or met anyone who thought Blair was good. I'm truly astounded, even the Labour party try to play him down and distance themselves from him.

04/02/14

Cotton Club says...

Disgraceful

04/02/14

ResidentTony says...

someone said public transport to St Helier is not good. It depends where you live, but, either way, we really should get the trams to serve the borough - can but help.

PS UKIP types don't care too much for Blair, but didn't Cameron once see himself as the heir to Blair? And, If he was so unpopular, why did he win three election? Short term history judges him unkindly; long term history will be more sensible. Mark my words.

05/02/14

GreenBrown says...

Oh please share with us what you consider to be Blair's legacy to this country, I'm intrigued. I could write a long list full of the corruption, mistakes, scandals, and failures that he presided over, but nothing beneficial to the country or his reputation. I can think of one person in particular who benefited from Tony Blair's time in office and that person is Tony Blair. Now a multi-millionaire in the payment of all sorts of dodgy companies and individuals. Labour to the core that man.......yeah right! He was the ultimate wolf in sheep's clothing, more Tory than the Tories.

06/02/14

Michael Pantlin says...

Niki R wrote:
Another betrayal of local people and hospital staff. Will that banner come down now, after a year of campaigners asking why it's still hanging there misleading people? And what do Sutton CCG have to say- will they finally stick their heads up and speak for local people? This news breaks my heart. We have worked so hard to save St Helier, and we are consistently betrayed at every turn by MPs and the Department of Health. Remember which Government secured £219m for our hospital and out community, and which parties plundered it when they wanted to punish us.
GPs seem little better than the politicians. I wrote to my Gp Surgerry and again personally to my GP and they couldn't be bothered to phooking acknowledge my hand delivered letters.


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