Council Leader Calls for Reassessment of Hospital Cuts

Says impact on services at St Helier needs to be considered

St Helier Hospital
St Helier Hospital

April 4, 2023

Cllr Ross Garrod, the leader of Merton Council, is calling for an urgent reconsideration of plans cuts to services at St Helier Hospital

He wants a re-assessment of the impact service reduction at St Helier Hospital, following the publication of latest patient figures.

He said the decision to go ahead with closing the emergency department, maternity services and children’s in-patient services without any re-assessment following the pandemic is “a dereliction of duty” to local people.

During 2022/23, bed occupancy rates at the Epsom and St Helier hospitals have risen consistently in the first three quarters of the financial year.

At the same time, St George’s Hospital has been operating at full capacity and Merton Council is increasingly concerned that they would not be able to cope with the flow of additional patients once services are moved to Belmont – miles further away.

Cllr Garrod has written to the head of the national New Hospitals Programme – the NHS body proposing to scrap the services and move them to Belmont – to call for a new public sector equalities impact assessment to be carried out.

During the pre-pandemic consultation on closing services, more than 3,000 Merton residents signed a petition calling for the plans to be re-thought.

Cllr Garrod said, “Cutting the vital services our communities rely on the most, moving them miles away while hospitalisation rates continue to grow at St Helier, and doing all that with no current assessment of health pressures is nonsensical.

“To press ahead with huge cuts without any assessment of the post-pandemic health impacts is bordering on a dereliction of duty.

“I’ve formally requested the NHS undertake a re-assessment of the proposals, one based on what is happening now – not what was happening before the pandemic.”

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