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Photo – Emily and Stephen Alambritis Outside Merton Civic Centre

Photo – Emily and Stephen Alambritis Outside Merton Civic Centre

Speaking after observing the debate on St Helier Hospital’s future at tonight’s Merton Council meeting, Labour’s Prospective Member of Parliament for Sutton and Cheam, Emily Brothers said:
“I congratulate Councillor Stephen Alambritis, Labour Leader of Merton Council, for taking swift action to make its collective position clear. I have asked Councillor Ruth Dombey, Lib Dem Leader of Sutton Council, to take similar swift steps ahead of their meeting early next week. I doubt they will take any steps because of their complacency.
“I found it a positive experience listening to a Council debate that wasn’t entirely scripted. That’s what we get in Sutton from Lib Dem Councillors, who are very tightly controlled. It was refreshing to hear Stephen Alambritis and his Labour colleagues speak passionately for secure demonstrable support from the Secretary of State for Health about long term provision for comprehensive and high quality services at Epsom and St Helier Hospitals, not a Super hospital on the site in South Sutton whose remaining services will shortly close.
“A twin-site approach for Epsom and St Helier are positioned at core population clusters, so moving provision away to South Sutton or closing the hospital down would have very serious consequences for residents of Sutton and Merton.
“Rumours are abounding that the Trust Development Agency have a list of six hospitals they consider are financially unviable. This year’s breakeven may keep Epsom and St Helier from that calamity, so St Helier could be amongst those ill-fated Trusts.”

On 15/0415 the Full Council, London Borough of Merton, debated the following motion:
This council is shocked and appalled to learn of the secret plan to close St Helier
Hospital, which was revealed by the BBC on Monday 13 April. This comes despite recent assurances from hospital bosses that St Helier hospital was safe.
Council notes that the Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats
visited St Helier hospital on the very day this shocking plan was revealed and was
roundly heckled by local residents.
Council notes that it is alleged that the secret plans include a preferred option to close both St Helier and Epsom hospitals and to build a new hospital in Sutton.
Council recalls that a similar proposal was rejected by the previous Labour
Government after being called in by Merton's Labour administration.
Council reiterates its clear commitment to keeping our local hospital open and:
• Calls for the release of these secret plans to close St Helier hospital;
• Calls for full disclosure of who is really behind these secret plans;
• Requests the Leader of the Council to write to the Secretary of State for Health and the Chief Executive of Epsom & St Helier Trust outlining the council'sshock at these secret plans and the way they have been disclosed and making clear that Merton Council will continue its fight to protect our local hospital.”

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