The chief executive of the Epsom and St Helier trust has expressed his “disappointment” at the recommendation to severely downgrade both hospitals.

The Better Services, Better Value healthcare review is recommending a further downgrade at St Helier Hospital on top of it losing its accident and emergency (A&E) and maternity departments.

The proposals were published this morning on the Better Services Better Value (BSBV) website.

The trust’s chief executive, Matthew Hopkins, said: “Whilst I recognise there is a need to change and improve healthcare services in our region, on behalf of our patients, staff, volunteers and local residents, I am disappointed with this news and recognise that it will be very unsettling for many people around us.

“However, it is extremely important to note that these are only recommendations and that no decisions have been made at this stage.”

Sutton Guardian: St Helier Hospital is one of the hospitals which could lose its A&E

The proposed downgrade throws uncertainty on the £219m promised to St Helier hospital.

Mr Hopkins added: “Sadly, the uncertainty caused by the BSBV review means we are unable to move forward with our plans to spend millions of pounds redeveloping St Helier Hospital.

“This is because each of the recommendations put forward today would see the shape and content of the new building change.  As such, we will need to wait for the outcome of the consultation until the plans can proceed.  This is not expected until the end of this year.”

BSBV’s recommendations need to be agreed by the seven clinical commissioning groups in south west London and north Surrey, as well as NHS England. They will also be subject to a three month public consultation.

If the proposals are agreed there is not expected to be any changes until 2017/18 at the earliest.