KEEP OUR ST HELIER HOSPITAL (KOSHH) AND KEEP OUR EPSOM HOSPITAL (KOEH) CAMPAIGN PRESS RELEASE
ALL PLANNED NHS CUTS, CLOSURES AND DOWNGRADES MUST BE STOPPED
The Keep Our St Helier Hospital / Keep Our Epsom Hospital Campaign calls on the Government to immediately and permanently abandon all plans to close or downgrade NHS hospitals, or hospital departments, and to scrap all plans to further reduce the number of hospital beds and staff in their entirety.
We further call on them to invest immediately to genuinely increase NHS hospital provision, provide more beds, train more staff and properly and fully fund our NHS.
Planned NHS cuts in South West London and Surrey
South West London and Surrey NHS bosses say they want to provide a smaller, single acute facility in place of the two existing Major Acute Hospitals that comprise the Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust. This plan is called “Improving Healthcare Together 2020 to 2030” (IHT). It is guaranteed to deliver the very opposite.
They plan to provide fewer acute hospitals, fewer beds, fewer Consultants, fewer Critical Care units and want to build the proposed single acute facility further away from most people who use either of the current two acute hospitals. They would only allow attendance via blue light ambulance or a GP referral, and would transfer all patients out of the acute facility to other locations after 3 to 5 days.
The current pandemic will massively magnify the already appalling consequences of the halving of NHS hospital bed numbers in the last 30 years. In 1990 we had 300,000 NHS beds. We now have fewer than 150,000. At the same time our population has increased enormously.
Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England says we now have only 98,000 adult beds. Even he says that bed cuts have gone too far.
Japan has 13 hospital beds per thousand people, Germany has 8, France 6 and China 4.3. The UK has only about 2.5 beds per thousand people - one of the lowest numbers in the developed world.
The IHT plan is to cut up to 205 beds, which would reduce the total locally to only 1.1 beds per thousand people, and will place severe additional pressure on surrounding hospitals – all of which were already failing to achieve their key targets due to the level of demand, even before the current pandemic.
KOSHH/KOEH have consistently said that we cannot safely lose A&E, Maternity, Intensive Care and all Emergency services, or indeed any capacity at all from Epsom and/or St Helier Hospitals. Even without a pandemic the consequences would be catastrophic as warnings from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine have long predicted. KOSHH say we need all the capacity, facilities, beds, doctors and other staff that we currently have. In fact we need more.
The deliberate and planned cuts, underfunding and lack of resources in our NHS and Social Care have already and predictably led to tens of thousands of extra deaths year on year. BMJ article here Independent article here Oxford University study here
The Coronavirus crisis exposes the consequences of the reckless reductions in NHS provision – especially given the lack of sufficient critical care beds, ventilators, staff, PPE and other equipment. This will undoubtedly cause many thousands more deaths.
In England we only have 4,000 Critical care beds. Most of them are now full. Telegraph article here.
In contrast Germany has more than four times as many Critical Care beds. British doctors will, more quickly, have to start deciding who will live and who will die for lack of critical care provision. Telegraph article here
The so-called “Improving Healthcare Together” plans and others like it across England are clearly and demonstrably both dangerous and reckless.
We call on the Government to stop all planned NHS cuts, closures and downgrades - immediately and permanently.
Please sign the petition to retain all acute services at Epsom and St Helier Hospitals at