Calls Grow to Save St George's Children's Cancer Centre

Council leader and MP oppose plan to reduce provision in the hospital

Rosena Allin-Khan on a recent visit to St. George's Hospital

May 23, 2023

Tooting MP Rosena Allin-Khan and Wandsworth Council leader Simon Hogg have written a letter to the Health Minister urging him to guarantee the future of the children’s cancer care centre at St. George’s Hospital.

NHS England about to start a consultation on plans for a new Children’s Cancer Principal Treatment Centre (PTC). St. George’s has submitted a bid to host the PTC but a rival proposal from the Evelina Centre is also being considered.

PTCs provide diagnosis, treatments, and coordination of highly specialised care for children aged 15 and under with cancer.  There are 13 of them in England and the proposed centre would cater to south London as well as Kent, most of Surrey, East Sussex and Brighton and Hove.

The specification for PTCs requires them to be on the same site as a paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and other specialised children’s services such as paediatric surgery relevant to children’s cancer care.

For the last 25 years, the PTC covering this area was jointly provided by The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The Royal Marsden does not have a paediatric intensive care unit on-site, which means that some children are currently safely transferred between the site and St George’s Hospital every year.

Evelina London Children’s Hospital, which is part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, and St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have both submitted proposals to become the PTC in future, providing all the required services on one site.

The NHS says that both proposals scored highly and are being taken forward for a public consultation which will be a final decision on the location of the new PTC.

St George’s believes that closing its regional children’s cancer service will have a knock-on effect of other services and would have a huge impact on patients, parents, and families. The service is a world leader in paediatric cancer research and rated outstanding by the CQC.

The potential closure has been condemned by Wandsworth Council Leader Simon Hogg and local MP Dr Rosena Allin-Khan.

In a letter to Health Secretary Steve Barclay, they say that the plans would badly affect families, lead to cuts in clinical services locally and dilute cancer treatment expertise.

Councillor Hogg and Dr Allin-Khan were on site at St George’s this week, visiting the children’s ward as well as meeting with senior hospital staff. The MP has launched a petition to save provision at the hospital in her constituency.

The letter warns that “the wealth of experience delivering this care cannot easily be replicated at an alternative site overnight.

“Additionally, Evelina does not provide neurosurgery or oncology services and would rely on surgeons from St George’s travelling to the hospital to conduct these services. This is an impractical solution to a key issue, with one in four children with cancer having a neuro-oncological condition.”

Another key concern expressed around the proposals is transport. Families of children with cancer often prefer to travel to hospital by car rather than public transport, especially if the children are on immunosuppressants. Driving and parking to the Evelina in central London is likely to create difficulty for families, whereas St George’s can ensure dedicated parking spaces for child cancer patients.

They also raise the issue of the financial implications of the proposed transfer. It is understood that the cost of transferring services to the Evelina would be around £90 million, three times more expensive than the estimated cost of redeveloping facilities at St George’s.

Councillor Hogg said, “These are deeply concerning proposals which could have profound implications for Wandsworth families dealing with cancer. The Council will passionately oppose this and fight to save children’s cancer services in our local area.

“I urge residents who are concerned about the proposals to respond to the NHS public consultation later in the year. If you are a Wandsworth family who will be directly affected by the proposals, please get in touch with me at

“Together we can win the fight to save children’s cancer care at St George’s.”

A spokesperson at St George’s Hospital said, “St George’s is the only children’s hospital in the region with 25 years’ experience of delivering specialist cancer care, surgery and intensive care for children. Uniquely, our proposal is the only option where young people with brain cancer will get all their treatment, including surgery, at one hospital.

“We have worked closely with NHS England to ensure that the strengths of the St George’s bid are clear and we are grateful for the support our proposal has received from patients, families and all our communities.”

Like Reading Articles Like This? Help Us Produce More

This site remains committed to providing local community news and public interest journalism.

Articles such as the one above are integral to what we do. We aim to feature as much as possible on local societies, charities based in the area, fundraising efforts by residents, community-based initiatives and even helping people find missing pets.

We've always done that and won't be changing, in fact we'd like to do more.

However, the readership that these stories generates is often below that needed to cover the cost of producing them. Our financial resources are limited and the local media environment is intensely competitive so there is a constraint on what we can do.

We are therefore asking our readers to consider offering financial support to these efforts. Any money given will help support community and public interest news and the expansion of our coverage in this area.

A suggested monthly payment is £8 but we would be grateful for any amount for instance if you think this site offers the equivalent value of a subscription to a daily printed newspaper you may wish to consider £20 per month. If neither of these amounts is suitable for you then contact and we can set up an alternative. All payments are made through a secure web site.

One-off donations are also appreciated. Choose The Amount You Wish To Contribute.

If you do support us in this way we'd be interested to hear what kind of articles you would like to see more of on the site – send your suggestions to the editor.

For businesses we offer the chance to be a corporate sponsor of community content on the site. For £30 plus VAT per month you will be the designated sponsor of at least one article a month with your logo appearing if supplied. If there is a specific community group or initiative you'd like to support we can make sure your sponsorship is featured on related content for a one off payment of £50 plus VAT. All payments are made through a secure web site.