The Leader of Merton Council has vowed to continue to fight plans to downgrade St Helier Hospital every step of the way.
Councillor Stephen Alambritis made the pledge as NHS Merton, Sutton and Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Groups, which are branding themselves Improving Healthcare Together, begin a public consultation tomorrow (8 January) on their plans to spend £500million of Government funding on improving health services at St Helier, Epsom and Sutton Hospitals.
The consultation names Sutton as the preferred option of the three sites for a new specialist emergency care hospital, on a site next to the Royal Marsden Hospital, which provides cancer care. This means that St Helier Hospital would lose its accident and emergency department as well as other vital services including the consultant-led maternity unit.
Merton Council will formally respond to the public consultation and is urging as many residents as possible to have their say before the closing date on Wednesday 1 April.
Cllr Alambritis said: “The plans being put forward are terrible. A clear wish to downgrade St Helier hospital has been declared under cover of a ‘consultation exercise’. How can people in Merton have any faith in this at all? A vanity project, miles from those in greatest need, cannot be the answer to our health issues. The effect on Merton’s residents is just seen as irrelevant and the council will fight this every step of the way.
“It is critical that everyone who depends on St Helier Hospital has their say in its future by responding to this consultation.”
The public consultation will be available at www.improvinghealthcaretogether.org.uk from Wednesday 8 January until Wednesday 1 April.
To request a hard copy of the document, please email email@example.com or call 020 3880 0271.