Fears for St Helier Hospital's future as two hospitals could face major cuts
The future of St Helier’s accident and emergency looks even bleaker after it was recommended that two A&Es should close in the region.
The healthcare review Better Services Better Value review (BSBV) last year proposed St Helier Hospital should lose its vital services.
The fight to save the hospital has been dealt another blow after BSBV’s programme board announced on Wednesday, January 9, that two hospitals out of four should lose their A&E and maternity departments.
Either St Helier, Epsom, Kingston or Croydon University Hospital will lose their key departments under the proposals.
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.
Politicians and campaigners have been fighting to save St Helier Hospital since it was threatened last year and Ruth Dombey, the leader of Sutton Council 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.”
Councillor Mary Burstow, the chairperson of the health and well being scrutiny committee, said: “It’s our local hospital. It’s vital.
“Anyone who thinks going to St George’s only takes ten minutes has clearly not made the journey on a regular basis.
“I don’t think any hospital should lose its services. I think we need all our hospitals and all our A&Es.”
Michael Bailey, consultant urologist and medical director for the BSBV programme, said: “I would strongly emphasise that no decisions have been made yet.
"These are clinical recommendations from local doctors and nurses only. Further work needs to be done to determine whether they would work in practice.
"We need to look at the impact on patient travel times, NHS staff numbers and what it would mean in terms of finances.
"What the Programme Board agreed was that this work will now be taken forward. Once we have agreed formal recommendations, we will consult the public later this year on whatever is proposed."
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