Scroll back through my website and you will find article after article regarding the future of St Helier Hospital. For 18 years, consultation after consultation has been run - at a cost of almost £50 million to the taxpayer - to determine the future of St Helier Hospital. Each consultation has been clear: there should be a fully operational St Helier Hospital on its current site.
We've been here before.
Many will remember the conference call overheard on a train by a BBC London Reporter in 2015 in which plans to close St Helier Hospital and build a new hospital in Sutton were revealed: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-32297664.
Fast forward to 2017. 'Epsom and St Helier 2020-2030' proposed that all acute hospital services (including major A&E and consultant led maternity services) should be located at just one site: Epsom, St Helier or Belmont (Sutton). The hospital Trust led a public engagement that received over 6,000 responses calling for an end to the threat of a fully operational St Helier on its current site and though the official results of the engagement show that these responses have been acknowledged, they have not been counted. This is particularly concerning considering that Freedom of Information requests have revealed a distribution of engagement materials across the entire catchment of the Trust, except for the area nearest to the current St Helier Hospital site.
So what's happening now?
Last year's engagement has been used to give a mandate to the local Clinical Commissioning Groups to run their own public engagement with the same proposal: moving all acute hospital services to just one site - Epsom, St Helier or Belmont (Sutton). The latest brand name: "Improving Healthcare Together 2020-2030".
History suggests that once a hospital loses acute services, it is the beginning of the end for that hospital.
The statistics for health, population size and deprivation could not be clearer: the area surrounding St Helier Hospital is in worse health, with a bigger population, and a population who are more reliant on public transport. Moving acute services including major A&E and consultant led maternity services away from St Helier Hospital would literally be moving them away from an area that needs them more, completely going against the purpose of a hospital.
And can you imagine the pressure that St George's Hospital and Croydon University Hospital would be put under if St Helier lost its major A&E?
Public feedback is being encouraged. To have your say, please head to the following website before the end of September 2018: https://improvinghealthcaretogether.org.uk/feedback/.
If you have any questions about the future of St Helier Hospital please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0207 219 4678.
Alternatively, why not go along to one of the engagement meetings?
Merton - Tuesday 18th September, 19:00 - 21:00pm, Commonside Community Development Trust, South Lodge Avenue, Pollards Hill, Mitcham, CR4 1LT
Merton - Tuesday 25th September, 19:00 - 21:00pm, Mitcham Parish Church, The Parish Centre, Church Path, Mitcham, CR4 3BP
Sutton - Wednesday 12th September, 19:00 - 21:00pm, Sutton Masonic Hall, 9 Grove Road, Sutton, SM1 1BB
Sutton - Wednesday 19th September, 10:00am - 12:00pm, The Thomas Wall Centre, 52 Benhill Avenue, Sutton, SM1 4DP
Leatherhead - Wednesday 19th September, 19:00 - 21:00pm, Bookham Baptist Church, Lower Road, Great Bookham, Leatherhead, KT23 4DH
Banstead - Thursday 20th September, 14:00pm - 16:00pm, Banstead Methodist Church, The Drive, Banstead, SM7 1DA