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Following reports that Sutton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is failing to back St Helier’s new five year strategy, Labour’s Prospective Member of Parliament for Sutton and Cheam, Emily Brothers has written to the CCG’s Chair calling for better transparency about their plans. Ms Brothers has written to Dr Brendan Hudson saying:
“You will be aware that the board of Epsom and St Helier University Hospital NHS Trust agreed their five year strategy last week. I trust that you will share my support for their commitment to retain A&E, maternity and paediatric services at St Helier for the next five years.
“It is very encouraging that Epsom and St Helier University Hospital NHS Trust have achieved a breakeven position this year. As you will surely appreciate, this has been tough to achieve, with their journey continuing to be challenging. That’s why I’m asking Sutton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to take steps to foster the benefits of the ‘one team, one trust’ approach.
“I was disappointed to note today’s Sutton Guardian report that Dr Chris Elliott, chief clinical officer of Sutton CCG has declined to support the hospital’s plans for A&E, maternity and paediatric services. That’s why I’m writing to you as Chair of Sutton CCG, to ask for an assurance on the sustainability of these vital local services.
“I understand that Sutton CCG continues to discuss options with partners in South West London Collaborative Commissioning (SWLCC). I would be grateful for clarification on the current options under consideration and the timescale for reaching decisions.
“I hope that Sutton CCG appreciates the important of transparency for local people over the future of their local healthcare services and would wish to put to rest the continual speculation. This kind of uncertainty is worrying for patients and demoralising for employees.
“I’m told by people living in Sutton that they remain deeply concerned about the uncertainty of your commissioning intentions and how they may impact on St Helier Hospital. This has been exacerbated by Sutton CCG’s previous support for the Better Services Better Value (BSBV) review to downgrade St Helier Hospital.
“Despite BSBV being shelved and the hospital’s board charting a refreshed approach, Dr Elliott’s failure to offer support is very worrying. That’s why I’m asking for clarification and to urge you to help strengthen public confidence in St Helier Hospital’s long term future.
“In the event that A&E, maternity and children’s services at St Helier should be closed due to commissioning decisions, I have called for the London Borough of Sutton to hold a referendum, so that local people are given an opportunity to indicate their support or opposition to such action. I trust you feel equally sanguine about this proposal, as it affords Sutton CCG with an opportunity to develop a consensus on the provision of local hospital based services. Your observations on this suggestion would be appreciated, as I would be interested to work constructively with Sutton CCG and London Borough of Sutton to bring this to fruition.”

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