Merton Council are delighted with the news that St Helier Hospital has been chosen as the site of the area’s new Critical Care Hospital.
It follows a long campaign to keep full general hospital services like A+E and Maternity at the site.
After its original assessments, Better Healthcare Closer to Home had originally rated St Helier as the site with the best score.
However, after public consultation had also backed the St Helier choice, BHCH overturned its own ratings and reinterpreted public views. They decided to opt for locating the Critical Care Hospital at Sutton Hospital, in Belmont, Surrey.
This decision was ‘called in’ by the London Borough of Merton, through the Overview and Scrutiny Commission there. So the final decision about the location was referred to the Secretary of State for Health, Patricia Hewitt MP.
Following her decision, Councillor Ian Munn said:
“On March 15 2005, Merton’s Overview & Scrutiny Commission agreed that its Chair, Councillor Ian Munn, should ask the Secretary of State for Health to intervene to prevent the development of a costly, inappropriate and ultimately unworkable critical care hospital at the wrong site.
The Secretary of State’s decision to support the request of Merton’s Overview & Scrutiny Commission to locate the Critical Care Hospital at St Helier and not on the Sutton site is the most marvellous news for the people of Merton.
When asked where the hospital should be 65% of Merton residents expressed the wish for the hospital to be located at St Helier, as travel to Sutton would be both difficult and costly for them; as a consequence, seriously limiting their access to a much-needed healthcare resource.
The reason for taking referral action – is that the Health Authority decision to locate the hospital at Sutton did not reflect what Merton people wanted, and would not meet, the needs of the vast majority of those its purpose is to serve.
I am delighted that the Secretary of State has agreed to our request to review the Health Authority decision.”
Merton Council Leader, Councillor Andrew Judge added:
‘Patricia Hewitt’s announcement that the new Critical Care hospital will be at St Helier is very good news for Merton residents.
This once in a lifetime decision will bring better healthcare for generations to come and provide a real lift to Mitcham and Morden in particular.
The Council has consistently argued in favour of St Helier as the only site that could offer good access to Merton residents. I thank the Councillors in Scrutiny who made the all-important request asking f