St Helier Hospital campaigners mark coming down of banner

Campaigners outside St Helier Hospital

Campaigners outside St Helier Hospital

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

Dozens of campaigners got together to mark the coming down of the St Helier Hospital banner at the weekend.

The prominent banner had been on the front of the hospital for some time, and stated Epsom and St Helier trust's intentions to spend £219m on a major redevelopment of the hospital.

But it emerged in February this year the plan was unlikely to go ahead due to the uncertainty it had faced under the Better Services Better Value (BSBV) programme which was scrapped.

People holding brightly coloured signs attracted passing drivers to honk their horns at the group of around 50 people who gathered outside the hospital on Saturday, March 1.

The group, including campaigners and councillors, were showing their ongoing support for saving St Helier Hospital in Wrythe Lane.

Sally Kenny, founder of the Lower Morden Residents group to Save St Helier Hospital said: "The banner misled the public.

"Now it is not misleading the public but the money it sitting somewhere between the hospital and the Treasury.

"We wanted to go down to show we want to save the hospital."

MP for Mitcham and Morden Siobhain McDonagh was among those to attend on Saturday, March 1.

She said: "The money to redevelop St Helier Hospital is sitting in the Treasury.

"It was agreed by the last Labour Government and supported by George Osborne in this Government but they are not using the money when it's clearly needed.

"They put the banner up because they were proud that the money was there - what's changed?"

The six clinical commissioning groups in south west London will now focus on developing a five year strategy for healthcare in the region, rather than continuing with the BSBV review.

The chief executive of St Helier Hospital, Matthew Hopkins, said: "It has been a long road for us, which involved times of uncertainty for the future of our services, our patients and our staff.

"I’d like to thank our staff and volunteers who throughout this time have kept their focus on the day job and have continued to provide high quality care to our patients.

"We are absolutely committed to working with our clinical commissioning groups in further improving healthcare in the region.

"Patients should be assured that the broad range of outpatient, day case and inpatient services remain available at our two main sites."

Comments (6)

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2:05pm Sat 1 Mar 14

Niki R says...

Very proud to join people there this morning and demand an answer to the question... "where's the money gone?"

Even one of the guys removing it expressed his anger, stating that as both his children had been born there and it being a very much needed hospital, he thought it wrong that the investment had been stolen away.

A shame we were informed the banner would be removed at 9am when they actually took it down at 8- sneaky to the last!

We fight on.
Very proud to join people there this morning and demand an answer to the question... "where's the money gone?" Even one of the guys removing it expressed his anger, stating that as both his children had been born there and it being a very much needed hospital, he thought it wrong that the investment had been stolen away. A shame we were informed the banner would be removed at 9am when they actually took it down at 8- sneaky to the last! We fight on. Niki R
  • Score: 17

9:06am Sun 2 Mar 14

Bonnie Craven says...

It is very telling that neither of the Lib Dem MPs, whose job it is to represent the people of the Borough of Sutton and who both fought their election campaigns in 2010 on the pledge to secure the future of St Helier, were not there. Neighbouring Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh was.

It is also notable that the only Councillor from Sutton Council who attended was Labour's Cllr John Keys.

I think thr local Lib Dems have shown us that they are not interested in fighying for our hospital through their absence this weekend.
It is very telling that neither of the Lib Dem MPs, whose job it is to represent the people of the Borough of Sutton and who both fought their election campaigns in 2010 on the pledge to secure the future of St Helier, were not there. Neighbouring Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh was. It is also notable that the only Councillor from Sutton Council who attended was Labour's Cllr John Keys. I think thr local Lib Dems have shown us that they are not interested in fighying for our hospital through their absence this weekend. Bonnie Craven
  • Score: 4

12:40pm Sun 2 Mar 14

Michael Pantlin says...

We await to see whether our two Sutton MPs vote to protect St. Helier Hospital by not supporting Jeremy Runt's Hospital Closure Clause that will enable the government to close hospitals more easily at their whim while disempowering further anyone who disagrees. I for one won't be surprised if they continue to back the government rather than their constituents and patients.
We await to see whether our two Sutton MPs vote to protect St. Helier Hospital by not supporting Jeremy Runt's Hospital Closure Clause that will enable the government to close hospitals more easily at their whim while disempowering further anyone who disagrees. I for one won't be surprised if they continue to back the government rather than their constituents and patients. Michael Pantlin
  • Score: 5

12:47pm Sun 2 Mar 14

Michael Pantlin says...

Anyone know how much the misleading banner cost from patient care funds to manufacture, put up, and now remove. You can bet whoever pur it up will be keeping a low profile, keeping their anonymity and keeping the amount of the money wasted under wraps. Today's NHS is as transparent as a brick wall. We still don't know why one of the former chief executives of the Trust was pushed out of her office and paid off in great haste. More like KGB than NHS..
Anyone know how much the misleading banner cost from patient care funds to manufacture, put up, and now remove. You can bet whoever pur it up will be keeping a low profile, keeping their anonymity and keeping the amount of the money wasted under wraps. Today's NHS is as transparent as a brick wall. We still don't know why one of the former chief executives of the Trust was pushed out of her office and paid off in great haste. More like KGB than NHS.. Michael Pantlin
  • Score: 5

7:50pm Sun 2 Mar 14

Niki R says...

Sadly Michael we know that both Brake and Burstow back the Hospital Closure Clause, despite local Labour's petition gathering over 1000 names before we presented it to Mr Brake on Monday. If they vote for it they will be betraying constituents, breaking their pledge to fight for the hospital and putting their position over people. Worse, they will putting our hospital at ever greater risk- talk about hypocrisy.
Sadly Michael we know that both Brake and Burstow back the Hospital Closure Clause, despite local Labour's petition gathering over 1000 names before we presented it to Mr Brake on Monday. If they vote for it they will be betraying constituents, breaking their pledge to fight for the hospital and putting their position over people. Worse, they will putting our hospital at ever greater risk- talk about hypocrisy. Niki R
  • Score: 5

2:42pm Mon 3 Mar 14

Niki R says...

An adjournment debate in Parliament has been secured for 10 March to debate the redevelopment of St Helier Hospital.

Was it Tom Brake, in whose constituency the hospital sits, that secured it? Was it heck. Step forward Mitcham & Morden's Siobhain McDonagh, who's done more in a single weekend to fight for our hospital than Brake has in three years.

Time people saw through his claims once and for all.
An adjournment debate in Parliament has been secured for 10 March to debate the redevelopment of St Helier Hospital. Was it Tom Brake, in whose constituency the hospital sits, that secured it? Was it heck. Step forward Mitcham & Morden's Siobhain McDonagh, who's done more in a single weekend to fight for our hospital than Brake has in three years. Time people saw through his claims once and for all. Niki R
  • Score: 2

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