A NEW HOSPITAL IS NOT ON OFFER
On Sunday the 29th of September 2019, Prime Minister Johnson appeared on the Andrew Marr show. During the interview, he made a statement about his intentions with regard to the NHS.
He gave the impression that the Government are going to provide funding for six NHS projects, including one centred around the Epsom & St Helier Trust. The headline on the front page of today's (29/09/2019) Sunday Telegraph even says "Johnson: I will build 40 new hospitals".
Some have assumed from this, that what has been promised in our area is a new hospital. This is simply not true, and we can prove it!
The pledge is not money for a new hospital, but the process by which they intend to downgrade two major Acute hospitals, and offer us less than one in their place.
- The Prime Minister talks about "Seed funding", not full funding - where will the remainder of the funding come from? PFI? PF2? A Wonga Loan?
- On offer is ONLY a new "acute facility", not a hospital.
- If this is allowed, Epsom and St Helier would NO LONGER BE ACUTE HOSPITALS. This could happen as soon as next year!
- Any substitute facility would not be ready until 2026...if ever
- The proposed new "acute facility" would be located on one site instead of two, therefore further away from most people, meaning longer journey times in all emergency situations. This would have a detrimental impact on outcomes, and we believe will result in people dying as a result.
- The proposed new "acute facility" would be:
- Have Fewer beds
- Be served by fewer Consultants
- Would be located on one site, instead of the two sites we currently benefit from
- Would only be accessible via Ambulance
- Would be further away from most people
Prime Minister riding roughshod over process and procedure
The Prime Minister's also said that work would "start immediately".
Before any work could begin on any such project, a full public consultation is supposed to take place, offering FOUR options as follows:
- No Change - Acute services to be retained at BOTH Epsom & St Helier Hospital
- Acute services removed from St Helier Hospital, and retained only at Epsom hospital
- Acute services removed from Epsom Hospital, and retained only at St Helier hospital
- Acute services removed from Epsom Hospital and from St Helier Hospital, and a new Acute facility to be build at the Royal Marsden in Sutton.
The pre-consultation business case has not yet been published. In fact, at a meeting of the South West London & Surrey Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny sub-committee on IHT on 26/9/2019, the councillors confirmed that even they had not yet seen the pre-consultation business case. They were therefore unable to scrutinise it.
The Pre-Consultation Business Case was sent to two clinical senates for their comments, and their feedback has been published. Page 12 of this document (linked below) contains a table listing the four options contained in the business case:
So, the Prime minister's statement that work would "start immediately" cannot be correct:
- We are told that no decision has yet been made on which of the above options would be carried out
- Local authorities are supposed to be part of the planning for such major reconfigurations, and they are yet to see the detailed proposals
- Local authorities are supposed to be scrutinising these plans, but have not yet been allowed to see the detailed proposals
- The loss of one or two major acute hospitals is a major change, which should be the subject of proper and formal public consultation prior to any decision being taken. There has been no such consultation.
ANYONE who is lauding today's news as something to celebrate, has either misunderstood, or is deliberately misleading.
A more detailed press release coming soon... watch this space.