You may have seen yesterday’s press reports about the future of our local hospitals. The articles suggest that Epsom is one of a group of South London hospitals, of which one is expected to be closed completely. This appears to be based on a report by the independent think tank, the Kings Fund, about its impression of discussions in the NHS in London and relates to the current review of services in many parts of the country.
I have been aware of these discussions for some time. I have had a number of conversations with those involved both locally and in NHS England in thinking about the future of the NHS in our area in the past few weeks, and wanted to reassure you that I have heard no suggestion that the future of Epsom Hospital is in doubt as part of the current review of services.
As you will probably recall, the Epsom and St Helier Trust has been exploring for some time the possibility of a new hospital at Sutton which would absorb acute services from both Epsom and St Helier whilst leaving elective services at Epsom. I have always been sceptical about the viability of this plan because of the cost of building a new hospital, and my most recent information suggests that it seems unlikely to go ahead. If such a plan were to properly materialise, then we would need to have a discussion locally about it – there would be pros and cons for our area. But I don’t think this is likely to happen.
In the absence of such a plan, there is no threat to the future of Epsom that I am aware of. Our local GPs here in Surrey, who hold the budgets for our local NHS remain very committed to the future of Epsom, and if there are changes in London, I am not expecting Epsom to be affected. Indeed Epsom is currently a pathfinder in the development of a new approach to working that links together hospital services, social care and GP services, and is meeting its key national targets.
I will keep you posted if anything changes.
With best wishes