A panel established under the NHS’s Better Services Better Value review has recommended that St Helier should become the centre for planned surgery in South West London, but losing its Accident & Emergency (A & E) and maternity units.

The review was initiated by the local NHS not by the Department of Health. Decisions about healthcare are taken by the local NHS organisation not Ministers. In the event that the final decision taken was challenged it could be referred to the Secretary of State for Health for a final decision.

As local Councillors who have used the services of St. Helier hospital, we oppose this decision. Heather has already been particularly active in opposing it as a member of the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee for south west London. On 15 May we joined our MP Paul Burstow in a demonstration against the decision at St. Helier hospital (in the photo above you can see Heather, Paul and Richard in front of the hospital).

Paul Burstow, has raised serious concerns about the way in which the Better Services Better Value review, and the talks about a merger with St Georges, have been handled. Treated as completely separate discussions, in fact they directly impacted on each other.

At this point no final decisions have been taken. Whilst important, the panel’s recommendations are not binding and mark the beginning of a process which will include a public consultation, expected in early autumn.

Local LibDems have previously fought to save St Helier and in 2010 secured £219m to refurbish and rebuild the hospital.

Paul Burstow comments:

“This is a flawed conclusion from a flawed process. There is still a lot of water to flow under the bridge before final decisions are made.

The panel have ignored the pressure on all the A&Es and maternity units in south west London.

A cloud has gathered over St Helier but I believe we can mount a successful challenge to the assumptions that have led the panel to this conclusion.

We have saved St Helier before, and we will fight to do so again.”

Click here to sign our petition organised by local LibDems, on the website of Paul Burstow. [Click on the word “petition”]

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