An independent panel is deciding whether a downgrade to a major hospital should be fully reviewed.
Merton council wrote to the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, asking him to call in the proposed decision to downgrade St Helier Hospital, in Mitcham, by removing its accident and emergency ward.
Plans to spend £500million of government funding on improving health services at St Helier, Epsom and Sutton hospitals focus instead on Belmont in the south of Sutton as the preferred location for a specialist emergency care hospital.
The Secretary of State has asked the Independent Reconfiguration Panel to decide whether to carry out a full review – and that would allow Merton council to present its case to the panel.
The council said having emergency care hospital in Belmont would mean moving vital health services away from deprived areas and into a more affluent area.
The leader of Merton council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis, said: “We have received an encouraging response from the Health Secretary to our call for the proposed downgrade of St Helier Hospital to be independently reviewed.
“The Independent Reconfiguration Panel is carrying out an initial assessment of the case, and we hope they will agree with us that a full review must be done before the final decision is made by the clinical commissioning groups on the location of the specialist emergency care hospital.
“While we welcome the proposed investment, we want to ensure it is targeted at residents who need it most, which would most effectively be achieved by improving St Helier Hospital on its current site.
“Moving acute services, including the accident and emergency department and consultant-led maternity care, out of St Helier Hospital is a terrible decision, which would disadvantage residents in the most deprived areas of Merton.
“The Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a massive impact on critical health services, and this must be fully taken into account by the clinical commissioning groups.”
Pictured top: St Helier Hospital
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