I am writing to you with a further update about what is happening over the future of Epsom Hospital.
The NHS has now decided to launch its formal consultation about the proposed new £400 million acute hospital, which it wants to build during the 2020s to serve our area. It has not formally decided where it wants to build the hospital, but is recommending that the final decision should be to have the new facility on the Sutton Hospital site next to the Royal Marsden.
I support the new investment, as there is no doubt that the existing services at both St Helier and Epsom are sited in buildings which are not going to be fit for the future. It’s clearly good for everyone who uses the NHS locally to have access to new facilities.
The option of having a new hospital built on a site between Epsom and St Helier, and adjoining the Marsden, is clearly a potentially attractive one. However I have looked carefully at all the evidence put forward and believe that there remains a very strong case for the new build to be at Epsom.
So I will be making the argument that it should be at Epsom, which is sited at the geographic centre of the area covered by the Trust. In fact the Epsom option is the most financially attractive to the Epsom and St Helier Trust, and delivers the same care plan as the other two sites. But it does have more of a knock-on effect on other hospitals, with patients in the St Helier area more likely to go to Kingston, Croydon or St George’s if the new unit is at Epsom. That’s why the NHS is making the recommendation for Sutton.
However with the need to provide more homes in Surrey, I am not convinced that all the benefits of Epsom have been properly considered, and will be making this argument strongly. That part of Sutton is also poor for transport links compared to Epsom and access to the site is not great.
You will be receiving a leaflet through your door from the NHS about this. Please do take part in the consultation.
I have also now had confirmation from the NHS about what the plans mean for Epsom if it does not win the battle to be the chosen site. It will continue to provide most of what it does at the moment, and will be particularly focused on supporting the frail elderly.
The services that would remain at Epsom would be:
- All current outpatient clinics
- All current daycase surgery
- All current urgent treatment centre attendances (c. 66% of emergency attendances)
- All current diagnostics and endoscopy
- All current chemotherapy
- Inpatient spell for patients needing inpatient care but not needing major acute services (c. 57% of NEL inpatient days)
- All current ante- and post-natal care
- SWLEOC – the elective orthopaedic centre
The services currently provided at Epsom that would move would be:
- Emergency department attendances and admissions (c. 33% of emergency attendances)
- Inpatient spell for patients needing critical care and/or major acute services (c. 43% of NEL inpatient days)
- High dependency unit
- Inpatient paediatrics
- Hospital birth episodes
I have been promised that some ambulances will continue to come to Epsom, particularly for the frail elderly who need the kind of specialist care that it will offer. It will continue to have just under 300 beds. So if Sutton is the chosen option Epsom will remain a significant local facility for the NHS, though it won’t carry out major operations any more.
I hope this is helpful, and will be back in touch shortly with more details of how my team and I, together with Sir Paul Beresford in Mole Valley, will be mounting the campaign in support of Epsom Hospital.
With best wishes