KOSHH raises awareness at the Morden Family Fun Day
Dave Ash, Philippa Maslin and Colin Crilly spread the word about the threat to our hospital.
KOSHH campaigner Philippa Maslin writes about our presence on the weekend at the Morden Family Fun Day, an annual event held in Morden Park.
Sunday 19 July 2015 was the Morden Family Fun Day and KOSHH were extremely pleased to be a part of it. Thank you very much to Andy Butcher for his help in making this happen.
The KOSHH stall drew a lot of attention throughout the day, with many people interested to know the latest news regarding the hospital, and to sign a petition addressed to South West London Collaborative Commissioning (SWLCC). This petition asks that SWLCC protects, maintains and improves not only St Helier Hospital, but also Epsom Hospital, St George’s Hospital, Kingston Hospital and Croydon Hospital.
In addition, quite a few people donated £1 in exchange for a lovely KOSHH badge, and ‘a regular’ at St Helier Hospital bought one of our equally lovely T-shirts.
People who were born at the hospital, people whose children were born at the hospital, people who have attended A&E, people whose life was saved by hospital staff, and people who are regular patients – we met them all and, by gosh, did some of them have some moving stories to tell. It was clear that the local community’s high regard for and loyalty to the hospital remains undiminished, and that ongoing threats to the hospital are perceived as deeply unjust.
It was particularly notable that a number of visitors to the stall recalled a BBC London news report, from April, which unearthed a secret plan to replace St Helier Hospital and Epsom Hospital with a new medical centre in Sutton – a centre which would not be built until at least 2020, but which would have just 800 beds, as opposed to the current 1,200 beds.
What was especially striking was that no one seemed to be aware of the Estates Review being conducted by the Trust, or that the Review’s recommendation that £500m needs to be spent on rebuilding St Helier Hospital and St Epsom Hospital stands in direct contradiction to the massive ‘efficiency savings’ that both the Trust and SWLCC say that they are being asked to make.
Visitors to the stall were completely shocked by this latest development, with several saying that it was bad enough when the £219m that was promised to St Helier Hospital was suddenly returned to the Treasury.
Of course, the uncertain future of St Helier Hospital is part of a wider picture of NHS cuts, closures and privatisation, and KOSHH exists to fight for the whole NHS, as well as our local hospital. It was, therefore, heartening to hear from the Mayor of Merton, David Chung, that he was going to try to help us arrange a screening of an extremely important and powerful documentary about the horrific destruction of the NHS, Sell-Off: The Abolition of Your NHS (2014), in Merton Civic Centre. His support is most welcome and we look forward to working with him.
KOSHH would like to thank absolutely everybody who took the time to visit the stall. We really enjoyed meeting you all!