“As Vice Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Committee and one of two Sutton Council representatives on the SW London Health Scrutiny Committee, I will be following very closely the implications for the residents of Sutton South of the decision by St George’s Healthcare Trust not to proceed with the merger with St Helier Hospital. Please see the press release below.”
Cllr Heather Honour
St George’s decide not to proceed with merger process
St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust have informed us and our strategic authority, NHS London, that they cannot proceed with their bid to merge with St Helier and Sutton hospitals.
Throughout the process St George’s have been very positive about the strategic opportunity to merge and the benefits this could bring to patients.
However, due to the financial challenges facing hospitals in south west London and the inability to pre-empt the outcome of the Better Services Better Value review, which is looking at how NHS services are provided across south west London, they do not feel able to proceed at this time.
This is because the review, which will be open to public consultation, could have a significant impact on the financial income of all hospitals involved.
St George’s have however expressed a full commitment to working closely with St Helier and Sutton hospitals in the future.
Jan Sawkins is the Independent Chair of the special Board set up to help St Helier, Sutton and Epsom hospitals to achieve foundation trust status. She said: “Whilst we have always been aware that a bidder could withdraw during the process, at this stage in the transaction it is obviously very disappointing news.
“The Transaction Board has a meeting scheduled next week (7 February 2012) and we will use this to consider the options and agree a way forward. This may include re-opening tenders for St Helier and Sutton hospitals.”
Matthew Hopkins, Trust Chief Executive said: “This is disappointing news, but St George’s have been clear to us that their decision is not based on our staff, nor the quality of the services we provide at St Helier and Sutton hospitals.
“As you would expect, the Trust Board and those working on the transaction have been looking at other options in case this happened and we look forward to discussing these with the Transaction Board next week.
“Whilst we are making decisions about the long-term future of our hospitals, our priority will – as ever – continue to be ensuring our patients and local people receive the very best services.”
Asked what this means for Epsom Hospital, Jan added: “It is the current belief that, subject to Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust being confirmed as the Preferred Partner for Epsom Hospital, the de-merger could continue whilst we make alternative arrangements for St Helier and Sutton.
“Whilst this would, of course, need further investigation and approval by the Transaction Board, the Trust Board and others, it is felt that this would be in the best interest of Epsom Hospital, its patients, staff and local people.
“However, I would emphasise that the priority remains to secure the future of Epsom, St Helier and Sutton hospitals.”
For more information about the work of the Trust visit our website: www.epsom-sthelier.nhs.uk. You can also follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/epsom_sthelier) or find us on Facebook (facebook.com/epsomsthelier).
This is what St Georges said in their press release:
St George’s media statement
St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust submitted a bid for a potential merger with St Helier Hospital in November 2011.
The board is clear that a merger between St George’s Healthcare and St Helier would be an excellent strategic opportunity, with the potential to bring significant improvements to the care of patients across southwest London and beyond.
After careful consideration the board has reached the conclusion that the current terms of the merger prevent us from proceeding further at this time.
The level of financial challenge facing hospitals in south west London, combined with the inability to pre-empt the outcome of a public consultation around the Better Services Better Value (BSBV) review, means this is not the right time for us to progress with the transaction.
We want to continue to build on the existing links that are in place for clinical services. We have identified a number of the potential benefits to patients that would occur from an acquisition which could also be delivered if the organisations remained separate legal entities which we shall continue to pursue.
We are particularly keen to develop the clinical and academic networks that span St George’s Healthcare and St Helier, and explore opportunities to establish new networks across services, to the benefit of patients.
A key priority for the trust is to achieve Foundation Trust (FT) status by 2014, and we will focus our efforts on achieving this. The board feels strongly that achieving FT status will strengthen the opportunities for St. George’s Healthcare and St Helier to work together in the future.
This is what Ashford and St Peters have had to say:
Statement re Epsom Hospital
Chief Executive at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Andrew Liles, said:
“The decision made by St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust not to pursue their bid for St Helier and Sutton hospitals has not changed our position regarding Epsom and we will continue to progress our plans to acquire Epsom hospital (through merger) in line with the process set out by the Transaction Board. Of course this is still subject to approval by the Transaction Board, Epsom and St Helier, the local health authorities and others and by our own Board, who will need to be assured that any final decision is in the best interests of both the Epsom and Ashford and St Peter’s catchment populations.
As a Foundation Trust already we feel we are in a strong position strategically to pursue these plans and we know they have already passed through the first stage of the process successfully, meeting the criteria set by local people, stakeholders and staff. These include new and innovative partnerships – with The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Central Surrey Health and Surrey and Sussex Partnership NHS Trust – to create an integrated healthcare campus at Epsom Hospital, bringing additional services and added benefits to local patients and staff. Our plans are also made more straightforward by the fact that Epsom hospital is not part of the Better Services Better Value review in South West London.
We have also had positive initial discussions regarding financial and commissioning support for our plans, although of course final decisions regarding the preferred provider and agreement of financial support are still to be made.”
For more information please call the Press Office on: 01932 722163