I am writing to let you know that the local NHS have announced that they intend to go ahead with the consultation about where they will build their new acute hospital early in the New Year, after a final meeting between the local GP groups to confirm their recommendations. At present they plan to recommend that Sutton should host the new unit.
I intend to challenge this assumption on two grounds, particularly the accessibility of the Sutton site and the fact that the NHS’s estimated cost for the three site options shows that it is far cheaper to site the new unit at Epsom than it is in Sutton. I understand the logic of siting the new unit halfway between St Helier and Epsom, and also of close working with the Marsden, and from the feedback I had previously I know that many people are happy with that option. But it is also the case that Epsom is sited much more centrally in the area covered by the Trust, and it has much better transport links. And is significantly cheaper, based on the very limited financial information published so far.
I will be doing my own detailed consultation about the issue across the area early in the New Year so I know exactly what the majority view is. In the meantime I will be asking the NHS to justify their recommendation based on cost and accessibility.
I should, though, stress that under the proposals we are being asked to consider most of what Epsom Hospital does at the moment will remain in Epsom. And reports that have been circulating in recent weeks saying that the acute services at Epsom and St Helier will close next year are completely inaccurate. Any changes to our hospital services resulting from the consultation will not happen until the middle of the next decade.
I will provide a more detailed update in the New Year.
Finally can I once again wish you a Happy Christmas and a happy 2020. We are lucky to live in an area with a strong sense of community, and I am particularly grateful to all of those volunteers who are working across the Christmas period. Our local churches, local Islamic and Hindu and other faith groups, as well as a myriad of local charities, do incredible work locally and help make life easier for those facing challenges in our area. I know they will carry on doing so in 2020.