Consultation Over St Helier's Future Is Postponed

Hospital review won't take place in the summer

A public consultation on the future of the A&E and maternity units at St Helier Hospital has been postponed.

The consultation over the 'Better Services Better Value' review, which has proposed the closure of the units at St Helier was to take place over the summer.

But there had been concern that people would be away over the summer - including a red card protest from Merton Council leader Stephen Alambritis.

Dr David Finch, joint medical director of BSBV, said: "NHS England... has asked us to look once more at the finances to give absolute assurance before the programme progresses to the next stage.

"We have also listened to the concerns of stakeholders and MPs that we should not consult with the public over the summer, when people are often away. We want to make sure that local people are able to take part in the consultation."

Siobhain McDonagh, MP for Mitcham and Morden, said: "Obviously it's good news that the Government has been forced to cave in. The pressure from local residents, and especially from Merton Council's threat of Judicial Review, clearly made a big difference. Consultation about something as important as the future of a hospital should not take place over the summer holidays.

"However, this is not over. Jeremy Hunt is leaving a sword hanging over the head of St Helier, when what he should do is call the whole process off."

Councillor Debbie Shears, Merton Conservative Health Spokesman, added: "Merton Conservatives welcome the decision by the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to delay consultation on the changes recommended by the Better Services Better Value (BSBV) review, especially the proposed reduction in services at St Helier hospital. It is essential that any changes meet the needs of residents and patients in our local area and that the funding model supports this.

"Merton Conservatives continue to fight to keep open the A&E and Maternity units at St Helier, both of which are well used and well regarded services. Local residents must have their views heard and it didn't make any sense to consult over the summer when people are away."

June 14, 2013