Fears for St Helier Hospital's future as two hospitals could face major cuts

Two hospitals could lose A&E and maternity

Two hospitals will lose A&E and maternity

Two hospitals will lose A&E and maternity

Mary Burstow

Ruth Dombey

First published in News Sutton Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

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."

Comments (10)

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5:00pm Wed 9 Jan 13

Michael Pantlin says...

The public want to keep their existing services and have made this abundantly clear in petitions so what is the point of a consultation apart from wasting more NHS money?
The public want to keep their existing services and have made this abundantly clear in petitions so what is the point of a consultation apart from wasting more NHS money? Michael Pantlin
  • Score: 0

5:03pm Wed 9 Jan 13

Michael Pantlin says...

The idea of closing both St. Helier and Epsom A&E departments is preposterous. If we refuse to head south through the traffic snarl up into Tooting, where's the next one open going south, Redhill?
The idea of closing both St. Helier and Epsom A&E departments is preposterous. If we refuse to head south through the traffic snarl up into Tooting, where's the next one open going south, Redhill? Michael Pantlin
  • Score: 0

5:24pm Wed 9 Jan 13

Angela M says...

It's extremely worrying that my nearest hospital could be Kingston, 20 minutes away and more than double the distance from Epsom Hospital. So in the event of a serious house fire we'll have to wait twice as long for the fire engines to turn up, and we'll probably expire during the long journey to the nearest A&E.

Are they trying to kill off Epsom and Sutton residents to clear the housing shortage?!
It's extremely worrying that my nearest hospital could be Kingston, 20 minutes away and more than double the distance from Epsom Hospital. So in the event of a serious house fire we'll have to wait twice as long for the fire engines to turn up, and we'll probably expire during the long journey to the nearest A&E. Are they trying to kill off Epsom and Sutton residents to clear the housing shortage?! Angela M
  • Score: 0

6:07pm Wed 9 Jan 13

Sutton53 says...

I took a disabled relative to Kingston Hospital twice. It's car-park is an atrocious lay-out and not big enough. We could not park anywhere. There is no room for the amount of people already attending let alone people from Sutton as well! It's car-parking for patients is inadequate plus think how long it would take on the 213 in rush-hour......which can take nearly two-hours.
I took a disabled relative to Kingston Hospital twice. It's car-park is an atrocious lay-out and not big enough. We could not park anywhere. There is no room for the amount of people already attending let alone people from Sutton as well! It's car-parking for patients is inadequate plus think how long it would take on the 213 in rush-hour......which can take nearly two-hours. Sutton53
  • Score: 0

7:18pm Wed 9 Jan 13

lilacgeorge says...

Just a reminder to the idiots that form the BSBV:3 January 2013

""Doctors and nurses at Epsom and St Helier hospitals are urging local people to only use our accident and emergency (A&E) departments if they need to, as both units are currently very busy, with an unprecedented number of people needing urgent hospital treatment.

At St Helier Hospital yesterday (2 January) 70 people who came to A&E needed admitting to the hospital for further treatment. That's an increase of more than 55% when compared to an average Wednesday, when approximately 45 of the people who come to A&E need admitting.

Epsom Hospital is also seeing an increase too, and yesterday admitted 32 patients for urgent treatment, compared to an average of 25 admissions on a normal Wednesday.

This pattern has been ongoing since the festive season, when our A&E departments saw a total of 3,300 patients (1,976 at St Helier Hospital and 1,324 at Epsom Hospital) between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day. That is 5.4% higher than the same period last year""
Just a reminder to the idiots that form the BSBV:3 January 2013 ""Doctors and nurses at Epsom and St Helier hospitals are urging local people to only use our accident and emergency (A&E) departments if they need to, as both units are currently very busy, with an unprecedented number of people needing urgent hospital treatment. At St Helier Hospital yesterday (2 January) 70 people who came to A&E needed admitting to the hospital for further treatment. That's an increase of more than 55% when compared to an average Wednesday, when approximately 45 of the people who come to A&E need admitting. Epsom Hospital is also seeing an increase too, and yesterday admitted 32 patients for urgent treatment, compared to an average of 25 admissions on a normal Wednesday. This pattern has been ongoing since the festive season, when our A&E departments saw a total of 3,300 patients (1,976 at St Helier Hospital and 1,324 at Epsom Hospital) between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day. That is 5.4% higher than the same period last year"" lilacgeorge
  • Score: 0

7:21pm Wed 9 Jan 13

lilacgeorge says...

and also.....

""Patients give thumbs-up to A&E at Epsom and St Helier hospitals

A national survey by the Government's health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, has found that the experience patients have in the A&E (accident and emergency) departments at Epsom and St Helier hospitals is among the best in south west London and Surrey.

The survey, which was filled in by 318 patients who used our A&Es earlier this year, shows a number of key findings, including:

95% of our patients said the A&E was clean or very clean;
84% said the A&E toilets were clean or very clean;
95% did not feel bothered or threatened by other patients;
76% felt they were treated with respect and dignity.
The survey asked patients to mark their A&E experience in a number of different areas, from their care and treatment they received through to the quality of the environment and facilities. They were also asked to give feedback on the tests they received and how they rated the doctors and nurses.

When all the scores were compared with other hospitals it showed that on a national scale our A&E departments were performing at about the same level as most others.

However, on a local level it showed that - along with St George's, Royal Surrey and Frimley Park hospitals - we scored better than other hospitals in south west London and Surrey.

Chief Executive Matthew Hopkins said: "Our A&E departments are very busy places, with more than 143,000 patients coming through the doors in the last year alone. These results show that, despite the challenges of providing high quality care in a demanding environment, our staff are doing just that. I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to the teams involved.

"It is also good to see how we are performing against other local hospitals in south west London and Surrey. It is helpful to see that we are doing well when compared to our peers.""
and also..... ""Patients give thumbs-up to A&E at Epsom and St Helier hospitals A national survey by the Government's health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, has found that the experience patients have in the A&E (accident and emergency) departments at Epsom and St Helier hospitals is among the best in south west London and Surrey. The survey, which was filled in by 318 patients who used our A&Es earlier this year, shows a number of key findings, including: 95% of our patients said the A&E was clean or very clean; 84% said the A&E toilets were clean or very clean; 95% did not feel bothered or threatened by other patients; 76% felt they were treated with respect and dignity. The survey asked patients to mark their A&E experience in a number of different areas, from their care and treatment they received through to the quality of the environment and facilities. They were also asked to give feedback on the tests they received and how they rated the doctors and nurses. When all the scores were compared with other hospitals it showed that on a national scale our A&E departments were performing at about the same level as most others. However, on a local level it showed that - along with St George's, Royal Surrey and Frimley Park hospitals - we scored better than other hospitals in south west London and Surrey. Chief Executive Matthew Hopkins said: "Our A&E departments are very busy places, with more than 143,000 patients coming through the doors in the last year alone. These results show that, despite the challenges of providing high quality care in a demanding environment, our staff are doing just that. I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to the teams involved. "It is also good to see how we are performing against other local hospitals in south west London and Surrey. It is helpful to see that we are doing well when compared to our peers."" lilacgeorge
  • Score: 0

8:23pm Wed 9 Jan 13

GR-London says...

We have cut the money we spend on our Armed Forces, the Police and now it's Emergency Healthcare.

Yet millions of pounds are squandered in many undeserving places.

This country is going down the Third-World route.
We have cut the money we spend on our Armed Forces, the Police and now it's Emergency Healthcare. Yet millions of pounds are squandered in many undeserving places. This country is going down the Third-World route. GR-London
  • Score: 0

12:24pm Thu 10 Jan 13

annon123 says...

I have no faith in St Georges. I have been there twice in my life. Once to have my Tonsils out, when the doctors confused me for another patient, who was having a nose op……. and the 2nd time with my husband who had injured his leg playing football. We waited 3 hours in A&E and then after an x-ray sat an waited a further 2 hours for doctor, during which time nurses kept saying the doctor is on his was, only then to be told that the doctor had in fact left for the day and that our x-ray was clear and we could go home. My husband leg continued to swell so we went to St Helier and within 2 hours it was confirmed he had in fact broken his ankle…….. and as for journey time from Sutton to either St Georges or Kingston you are talking more like 40 mins and not 10, by car and as for a bus…… hours…
I have no faith in St Georges. I have been there twice in my life. Once to have my Tonsils out, when the doctors confused me for another patient, who was having a nose op……. and the 2nd time with my husband who had injured his leg playing football. We waited 3 hours in A&E and then after an x-ray sat an waited a further 2 hours for doctor, during which time nurses kept saying the doctor is on his was, only then to be told that the doctor had in fact left for the day and that our x-ray was clear and we could go home. My husband leg continued to swell so we went to St Helier and within 2 hours it was confirmed he had in fact broken his ankle…….. and as for journey time from Sutton to either St Georges or Kingston you are talking more like 40 mins and not 10, by car and as for a bus…… hours… annon123
  • Score: 0

5:28pm Thu 10 Jan 13

uwilllikethis says...

We supposedly live in a democrarcy yet unelected officials are deciding whether two major hospital A&E's are to close.
The excuse put forward is that care would be better served in a superhospital. Trying telling that to mothers who may lose their children as no maternity facilities available to those in actual need in the locality. Perhaps the review should consider the real views of the customers. Is the £2m spent on this so far really been Value for Money, or could that have been better spent or vital equipment.
We supposedly live in a democrarcy yet unelected officials are deciding whether two major hospital A&E's are to close. The excuse put forward is that care would be better served in a superhospital. Trying telling that to mothers who may lose their children as no maternity facilities available to those in actual need in the locality. Perhaps the review should consider the real views of the customers. Is the £2m spent on this so far really been Value for Money, or could that have been better spent or vital equipment. uwilllikethis
  • Score: 0

10:30am Fri 11 Jan 13

Sutton53 says...

This review has already cost 2million pounds.....why? I would like to see a break-down on what this money has gone towards. It seems to me that by adding another hospital to the 'review' they are just stringing out the whole procedure for financial reasons, using it as a 'cash cow'.
This review has already cost 2million pounds.....why? I would like to see a break-down on what this money has gone towards. It seems to me that by adding another hospital to the 'review' they are just stringing out the whole procedure for financial reasons, using it as a 'cash cow'. Sutton53
  • Score: 0

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