MPs and councillors express concerns for St Helier Hospital as Epsom's merger collapses
MPs and councillors have expressed their concerns for the future of St Helier Hospital after the collapse of the merger between Epsom and Ashford St Peter’s Hospitals.
The collapse of the merger, announced yesterday, could affect the Better Service Better Value (BSBV) review of healthcare in SW London because it was drawn up on the assumption that Epsom Hospital would no longer be part of Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust.
The Better Services Better Value Review proposed that St Helier Hospital should be the hospital in SW London to lose its accident and emergency, maternity and children’s ward and should become a centre of planned care.
Sutton and Cheam MP, Paul Burstow, said: "The news that Ashford St Peter's is pulling out of its merger with Epsom is hugely disappointing.
“To leave it so late in the day is astonishing. For months the NHS BSBV team and senior PCT managers have told us that the merger, BSBV and the rebuild at St Helier were three independent projects.
“It was always nonsense and now a botched BSBV project is causing chaos."
Carshalton and Wallington MP, Tom Brake said: “Firstly I am astonished that this late in the day, Ashford and St Peter’s have decided the figures don’t stack up.
“Secondly, this further delay makes it abundantly clear that the BSBV process will not be complete before local GPs take control of health services in April next year.
“GPs must gear up now to take full control of working out what health services local people want and need.”
The parties involved in the merger of Epsom and Ashford St Peter’s were unable to develop a financially viable plan and urgent discussions will now take place to determine a way forward.
Councillor Ruth Dombey, leader of Sutton Council, said: “Residents and staff have been left in limbo for far too long.
“I repeat my call for the NHS to abandon BSBV and leave the hospital trust to work with local GPs and the council to secure the future of the hospital so they can continue to provide high quality healthcare for people in the local area.”
Councillor Mary Burstow, chair of Sutton Council’s Scrutiny Committee, said: “Staff at the hospitals have continued to provide high quality care, in spite of the terrible uncertainty they have been working under.
“We must use this current opportunity to properly consider the future for healthcare in the area and reach a solution that will work for generations to come.”
A spokesperson for the Better Services Better Value programme said: “We have already announced a delay to launching public consultation while we support NHS Surrey to examine the impact of the BSBV proposals on Surrey residents who use services in SW London.
“The BSBV proposals were based on Epsom Hospital being part of Ashford and St Peter’s in Surrey. We will now need to look again at our proposals.
“This will mean a longer delay, but our clinicians leading BSBV are clear that no change is not an option: we need to give all local people better health services. “