Save St Helier Campaign has cross-party support in Merton and Sutton
A campaign to stop the closure of accident and emergency and maternity departments has cross-party support.
In Merton and Sutton the Conservative, Lib Dem, and Labour groups have said they will oppose the loss of the frontline services at the hospital.
St Helier stands to lose both its A&E and maternity services as part of the NHS’s Better Service, Better Value healthcare review.
On Wednesday last week a panel of 60 representatives made up from south west London hospital trusts, local authority members and community representatives, recommended St Helier lose its frontline services over Croydon University and Kingston hospital.
A final decision on whether to shut the services is subject to more NHS scrutiny and a public consultation.
Labour councillor Stephen Alambritis, leader of Merton Council, said: "This Government is starving the NHS of funding. This has led to the shocking decision to close St. Helier's A&E and maternity services. I want to send a message to this Tory-led Government.
"The people of Merton will not take this decision lying down. We will fight any attempt to downgrade our local hospital and proposals to cut our A&E and maternity services."
Councillor Linda Kirby, Merton's cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: "I am hugely disappointed by this decision. I know local residents will be appalled. This will make life much more difficult for ill and disabled residents who will now need to travel much further for NHS care."
Conservative Health Spokesperson, councillor Suzanne Evans, spoke out at the South West London Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Commission (JHOSC) on Thursday night, a meeting held specifically to question the process, and left unconvinced that the move will benefit patients in Merton.
She said: "St Helier’s A&E and Maternity departments are busier than ever and the numbers of people using them are only likely to increase," she says. "And why, when the NHS says it wants to diminish health inequalities, is it considering closing units in a deprived area, with high numbers of older people, and residents who’ll struggle to travel to other hospitals because they have to use public transport?"
"It’s hard not to be cynical about this; we’ve always feared it would be St Helier that loses A&E and Maternity services and that BSBV would champion the other SW London hospitals at the expense of St Helier. The BSBV team is saying this isn’t a ‘done deal’ but they’ll have to make an incredibly strong case for closure if they are to convince us on this. Meanwhile, we’ll be putting up a strong fight."
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