Commission calls for further analysis of Hospital site

An independent commission has backed Merton Council’s appeal to the Secretary of State over the location of the area’s Critical Care Hospital.

Healthcare Audit Consultants Ltd has reviewed the decision by Better Healthcare Closer to Home to downgrade both Epsom and St Helier Hospitals in favour of a new ‘super hospital’ at Sutton and have concluded that the process followed was “flawed and incomplete.”

The report has been sent to the Secretary of State for Health, the Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt MP, in support of Merton Council’s application to have the decision overturned.

The leader of Merton Council, Andrew Judge explains.

“Merton asked independent experts Health Care Audit to examine the decision by local health managers not to build a new critical care hospital at St Helier. This decision ignored the views of local residents and Merton Council in favour of Sutton. Health Care Audit have produced a powerful analysis demonstrating that health managers were wrong. In particular they only paid lip service to health inequality issues. This is unacceptable as people in Merton have greater health needs than people in Surrey. This report lends strong support to Merton’s calls for Pat Hewitt to intervene on behalf of St Helier.’

Notes to editors

Health Care Audit call for in their report:

1. Further analysis of the impact of site location on travel times for the public and staff is required. To include separate analyses of travel times for public and private transport and for different disadvantaged groups.

2. A Strategic Outline Case (SOC) that includes a full options appraisal with the differences between the Sutton option and St Helier option more clearly drawn, evaluated and costed in oder to comply with guidance on investment decisions.

3. Further work commissioned to:
a. assess the impact on and the views of staff in choosing between the St Helier and Sutton options
b. assess distributional impacts for the local populations in accordance with the guidance in the Green Book, taking more account of the impact on those using public transport
c. consider planning issues to clarify deliverability on each of the sites
d. model the financial impact of ‘Payment by Results’ including those trusts outside the immediate area that are likely to be affected
e. assess the impact of plans to provide local care hospitals and,
f. clarify the costs and benefits of co-location with the Royal Marsden at Sutton.

5. A consultation on the SOC with the overview and scrutiny committees of each borough before final decisions are mad