Leaked document shows odds stacked against St Helier Hospital in battle to retain A&E and maternity
A leaked document has revealed the odds are stacked against St Helier Hospital retaining its accident and emergency (A&E) and maternity departments.
The document, seen by the Sutton Guardian, shows a draft of ten "options" an expert panel from the Better Services Better Value (BSBV) review will score as part of the reconfiguration of health services in SW London.
According to the options the only way St Helier can retain its A&E department is if Croydon University Hospital – which is at the heart of London’s largest borough – loses its A&E.
It looks like it will be a straight shoot out between Epsom and St Helier as to which could become the most downgraded site which BSBV are calling a "local hospital" – which could include GP services and practices, treatment for simple fractures, chest infections and burns.
All the options recommend that both St George’s and Kingston should retain their A&E and maternity facilities.
Last year BSBV, which is being carried out for a second time, published data the scoring panel of 60 people were considering and made public announcements of their recommendations.
However, this time they will not publish the data, being scored by a panel of eight people, and will not make an announcement of their recommendations until it has all been considered by the programme board along with a financial appraisal next Wednesday.
The Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust has asked BSBV not to make a public announcement until they have had a chance to speak to their staff on the Thursday morning (February 21).
Campaigners have vowed to continue their fight against any recommendations to downgrade St Helier Hospital.
The MP for Sutton and Cheam Paul Burstow, who has been calling for an end to the review, is bracing himself for bad news.
He said: "It is a bad process leading to bad options – in the end offering the problem a false choice.
"It has committed so many errors and assumptions on which they base their decisions on.
"In the real world this is just not a practical set of solutions. In effect they are playing one hospital against another and one community against another.
"I think they had a pre-determined outcome in mind and they have worked towards developing that outcome.
"That pre-determined outcome – downgrading St Helier and disposing of Epsom when it came on the scene."
Mary Burstow the chair of the health and well being scrutiny committee has warned that if St Helier becomes the "local hospital" there is no chance the Department of Health will approve the £219m earmarked for the rebuild of St Helier.
Sutton’s two MPs are planning on visiting St Helier Hospital to speak to staff following the announcement.
Tom Brake the MP for Carshalton and Wallington is urging people to attend a public meeting to challenge those behind the review.
The meeting will take place at 7pm on Thursday, February 21, at the Carshalton Boys Sports College, Winchcombe Road.
The leaked document