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Independent analysis of feedback from consultation on £500m investment in local hospitals – read it now

Independent analysis of feedback received during the recent public consultation on a £500m investment to improve services at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust has been published today. Read the independent report by clicking here.

Next steps will be to consider all the feedback, which showed broad support for the proposed clinical model and importantly to undertake further work to explore some of the key themes raised before any final decisions are made.

Welcoming the report, Dr Andrew Murray, GP and Clinical Chair at NHS South West London CCG said:  “Given the current circumstances, it feels more important than ever that we continue this programme to secure the right healthcare services for local people. The coronavirus pandemic has shown all too clearly the difficulties of trying to tackle modern epidemics in old hospital buildings such as Epsom and St Helier. We are also doing additional work to consider the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our clinical model to ensure it fully meets any future needs.”

Dr Charlotte Canniff, GP and Clinical Chair at NHS Surrey Heartlands CCG said: “We want to thank everyone who took the time to listen to our proposals and then respond, either online, on paper or face-to-face. Today’s report shows there is clear support for this vital investment but also some concerns that we are already looking at as part of our next steps.”

The Improving Healthcare Together consultation, which ran from 8 January until 1 April this year, put forward plans to invest in both Epsom and St Helier hospitals and to build a new specialist emergency care hospital at either Epsom, St Helier or Sutton.

The main findings showed:

  • Many consultees recognised the challenges facing the NHS nationally, and at Epsom and St Helier hospitals locally;
  • The additional £500m investment was welcomed;
  • Widespread support for the proposed clinical model to address the case for change, particularly from NHS staff and clinical stakeholders;
  • Levels of support for the clinical model varied by geography, with fewer Merton residents supporting the proposals.

Looking across all consultation strands, on balance Sutton received more support as the preferred site, but support did vary depending on where consultees lived. The strongest support for either Epsom or St Helier as the new site came from residents living closest to these hospitals.

Dr Charlotte Canniff added:  “It is important to remember that under any of the proposals most services will stay where they are now. Once a final decision is made, there will be over five years of close working between the NHS and local communities to make sure the new and existing hospitals work seamlessly together.”

The most common concerns raised during the consultation related to:

  • access to services, especially pre-and-post maternity care
  • the impact on local communities
  • transport and travel, especially for people living in more deprived areas
  • longer journey times which might lead to poorer health outcomes.

Other themes included the impact on other hospitals and care providers, how staffing and hospital transfers would work across three sites, and whether bed numbers would be able to meet future demand.

In response we have already started additional work to explore these key themes in more detail, particularly around travel and transport options, bed numbers and access to services such as pre-and-post maternity care, all of which will feed into the decision-making process.

Dr James Marsh, Joint Medical Director at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals added:

“The coronavirus pandemic, which started at the end of the consultation, has reinforced the importance of investing in our hospitals. Under our plans, we would have a brand new specialist hospital with more intensive care beds, more single rooms for infection control and teams of specialists working together to care for patients.”

The Clinical Commissioning Groups’ (South West London and Surrey Heartlands) Governing Bodies will meet on 3 July to consider feedback from the consultation and all the evidence alongside a decision-making business case.

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1 thought on “Independent analysis of feedback from consultation on £500m investment in local hospitals – read it now

  1. Of the local authorities most affected in terms of their catchment area populations by the proposals Merton and Sutton both favour St Helier not Belmont for the new hospital. As does KOSHH, organiser of the largest petition, over 6.000 people. Yet the decision makers favour Belmont in effect turning local NHS provision into a 2-tier affair: the best at Belmont, a relatively affluent area; second-best at St Helier, where provision is most needed, and Epsom.
    Further, during the pandemic, the government has repeatedly tapped the magic money tree, dispelling for ever its earlier claim that there was no money. The government could and should therefore easily find sufficient money for two new hospitals. One at St Helier, the other at Epsom – that option, certainly as affordable as the existing one, would satisfy most current objections and provide a one-tier NHS that would encourage recruitment of the staff the Trust is currently short of.

    Second point: during the pandemic, the hardcopy free paper, Sutton & Croydon Guardian has published a number of pieces expressing the views of Colburn and Scully the two Sutton borough Conservative MPs who favour Belmont at the expense of a downgraded St Helier and a downgraded Epsom. Whereas the views of both Sutton, Lib-Dem, and Merton, Labour, Councils both of whom favour St Helier and both of whom have health and social care responsibilities, are not as frequently represented. Normally such bias could be offset to an extent by Letters to the paper. But Sutton & Croydon Guardian has published none during Covid-19. This is an extremely unhealthy state of affairs when such important issues are at stake.

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