Wednesday, December 06, 2006

St Helier Hospital and the Merton Tories position

Going through my old e-mails on St Helier, I came across an old press release from Andrew Shellhorn former Parliamentary candidate for Mitcham and Morden along with being councillor up until the May local elections(he was defeated). Back in 2004, it seems they were quite keen to save St Helier and on offering support to save St Helier.

How things have changed!, they seem to have gone lukewarm on support for the hospital judging by a recent Stephen Hammond newsletter in Merton Park and a response from David Williams at the Council meeting last week. Indeed, they even criticised the decision to refer the matter to the Secretary of State when a decision was made to locate the critical care hospital at Sutton, this deceision was subsequently overturned following the referral by Merton Council.

I also checked out the Wimbledon Conservative website and the press release below has been removed even though it has an archive back to 2000. Now I wonder why????

Anyway I have posted the release below.

Seven Weeks to save St Helier
Author: Andrew Shellhorn
Date: Friday, April 30, 2004

On Wednesday night at the Merton Council meeting, the Conservative Group proposed a motion urging the Council to fight for the health of local people. This motion, although amended, was passed without any opposition. Importantly this motion urged the Council to do all that was necessary to save St Helier Hospital from the prospect of closure.

Sutton and Merton Primary Care Trust (PCT) has been undertaking a Clinical Services Review to determine what model of clinical services would best serve Surron and Merton. Whilst they are examining four possible options, the expected outcome is for six new Local Care Hospitals (LCH) and one new Critical Care Hospital (CCH). The PCT is asking local councils, amongst other groups, to suggest the criteria they should use to decide the siting of the LCHs and the CCH.

Cllr Stephen Hammond, Wimbledon Conservative Parliamentary spokesman said " This is vitally important for local people. The PCT are asking for input into the criteria which will decide where these new LCHs and CCH are sited. But it is all being rushed. They have set a deadline of April 30th for replies and then intend to announce their decision on June 17th. We have seven weeks to fight for Merton's health.

"The PCT must take into account the ability of patients, visitors and staff to reach these sites. The London Plan suggests that preferred locations should be in town centres. The new sites must take into account not only patient numbers but also their needs. They must be able to deliver quality healthcare and link into the services provided by other local hospitals. I am extremely concerned that if the new CCH is sited in Sutton there might be an adverse impact on the quality of healthcare provided at St Georges and Kingston."

Whilst the Clinical Services Review is not due to be announced until June 17th, it has been rumoured that the PCT has already made up its mind on the siting of the new Critical Care Hospital.

Cllr Andrew Shellhorn, Mitcham and Morden Conservatives Parliamentary spokesman, told us " There is a belief that the PCT has already made up its mind and this site criteria exercise is just a case of making the evidence fit the verdict. The Conservatives want the PCT to keep St Helier it is an excellent hospital with first rate A&E provision and maternity care.

"Apart from some comments last November, the Labour MPs have been silent. I , together with Stephen Hammond, will be requesting a meeting with the PCT to put the case for St Helier. We have seven weeks to save St Helier."

Cllr Stephen Hammond concluded " The residents of Merton need two new Local Care Hospitals and one should be sited at the The Nelson. But the residents of Merton need St Helier and the Conservatives will be doing all they can to prevent the PCT closing it. Our Labour MPs are quiet on this subject. Perhaps that is because despite all their nonsense about Tory cuts, in Merton it will be Labour closing a much needed hospital. Local residents will not forgive a Labour Government or its MPs for closing St Helier."


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