St Helier Hospital
Labour is Campaigning to Protect and Invest in St Helier Hospital
Update: St Helier Hospital’s A&E, Maternity, Children’s Hospital Care and all Emergency Care, are currently under serious threat of removal to Belmont in the current Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) backed by the local Tory MP. This is the biggest threat to our hospital it has faced as unlike the previous three attempts there is now a big Tory majority in Parliament to see these service cuts through replacing services at St Helier and Epsom with a much smaller out of the way Belmont unit. They held a consultation and have decided to proceed with the proposals. Labour’s submission to the consultation is here. We welcome the news that Merton Council has asked for the Secretary of State for Health to call in the proposal for an Independent Review which you can read here.
We recently organised car convoy protests in Sutton and Epsom calling on the local Councils to refer the decision to the Secretary of State for Health for an Independent Review. As well as the events themselves we were covered in the media by Radio Jackie. This involved a flatbed truck with a hospital bed and “patient” leading the car convoy, more than 15 cars in a convoy that travelled to St Helier Hospital and then around the Civic Offices 3 times and over 100 protesters in cars or at the Civic Offices or at Epsom hospital. We had 5 local Labour Parties present from 4 boroughs as well as members of GMB and Unison, a number of Merton Councillors and Patsy Cummings – our GLA candidate. In Sutton the Council Chief Executive came out to see what we were up to and we were able to pretty loudly convey our “referral message”, so we can absolutely confirm the Council got the message! Here is the moment the car convoy and the Civic Offices Protesters met up
As part of the campaign to defend our services, the GMB trade union held a number of public meetings across the area which are backed by the local Trades Council, local Labour Parties and their “Hands off our Hospitals” campaign – see more on Facebook here.
More on the GMB support for the local campaign is on their Southern Region GMB website here.
Our Recent Actions to defend St Helier and Epsom Hospitals
- We have supported campaigns by Keep Our St Helier Hospital (KoSHH) to flag up the threat of land sales at Epsom Hospital
- We exposed the Trust’s use of Saville’s Estate Agent’s to try to change the health planning status of the St Helier site
- We have written to the Trust about the threat of building high density housing on the site and received confirmation this cannot happen before 2022
- We have sought clarification from the Council over the ownership status of the land at St Helier Hospital car park. The front part is owned by the Trust with the Council holding restrictive covenants over it. The back part is owned by Sutton Council and leased to the Trust on a 30 year lease until 2025. The rest of the site is owned by Sutton Council and leased to the Trust for 999 years.
- We have recently organised car convoy protests in Sutton and Epsom calling on the local Councils to refer the decision to the Secretary of State for Health for an Independent Review
- We celebrate that St Helier Hospital is one of the safest in the country and one of the few trusts in the country that consistently delivers the four-hour A&E target and is among the best in London.
- We support a local health strategy that includes a full Acute Hospital service with A&E and maternity at the current St Helier Hospital site. In 2009 after years of Labour campaigning the last Labour Government agreed to £219 million for a partial rebuild of a new acute unit on the Ferguson House part of the hospital. This money was taken away from local people by the Tory/Lib Dem coalition in 2013.
- We oppose the Epsom and St Helier Trust’s inadequate engagement exercise which seems mainly aimed at convincing their own staff and Epsom consultants to accept a small and inadequate acute unit on the Sutton Hospital site. We also strongly oppose the Trust’s secret agenda, which Labour is exposing, for the sale of parts of the St Helier site for housing purposes. We reserve the right to hold a referendum to ask residents to vote to keep the current full NHS health use of the St Helier site. This would create a “Residents’ Lock” on the site in future so its status can only be changed by another residents’ referendum.
- In order to move things forward now and set the agenda, we would fully engage local people on the three real options for our local hospital’s future. A full rebuild would cost £750 million, a part rebuild like the 2009 proposal would cost £350 million and a more short-term refurbishment would cost £80 million. Labour’s preference is for a £750 million rebuild with all the 1930’s external facade protected and the hospital then made a Grade 2 listed building. We will engage with local people and, if we secure strong public support for that proposal, will demand resources from central government to fund it. The best option would be for the government to fund the rebuild and the loan made at a low rate of interest.
- We continue to support the provision of Children’s Hospital Services at Queen Mary’s Hospital for Children on the St Helier site. Labour, health campaigners and trade unions locally fought hard to keep a local Children’s hospital with a big demonstration and march in Sutton in the mid 1990’s where Jeremy Corbyn MP was the main speaker. We will continue to fight for that service to stay where it is now.
- We continue to recognise the importance of Epsom Hospital which is used by around 10% of Sutton residents. We want to see it retain its acute services too.
- We will do all we can to defend our local hospital if the Trust continues with its Sutton Hospital acute proposal. We will launch a much bigger campaign for this. We will have banners on our dustcarts and at the Civic Offices as Labour Merton has done. We will use all our scrutiny powers to slow down the process & support a judicial review to protect local services.
- We will press the hospital trusts to abolish parking charges to reduce the impact on local residents in surrounding roads.