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Health bosses criticised for holiday meeting

17th August 2011

Health bosses have been criticised for holding a meeting about the fate of a hospital during school holidays when few people can attend.

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The meeting affected the future of St Helier Hospital in London.

The proposal is for St George’s Hospital in Tooting to merge with St Helier as part of changes to hospital services in south London.

However, politicians and GPs have raised concerns over the long-term future of St Helier’s maternity, renal and A&E departments.

St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust – which needs to save £55million - scheduled the meeting for August 18 to give local residents an opportunity to raise their concerns with health managers but there are calls for the meeting to be delayed until September to enable more of the 600 people who have been invited to attend.

The trust said it is working to a set timetable.

Sutton Council’s deputy leader Councillor Ruth Dombey described the timing of the meeting as highly unsatisfactory.

“We already think the merger plan is being rushed through and the timing of this meeting just underlines these concerns,” she added.

Calls from Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake and the care minister and Sutton and Cheam MP Paul Burstow, GPs and the council to the Department of Health to delay the process have been rejected.

The need for St Helier’s to merge arises out of a requirement for it to achieve Foundation Status by 2014, although it has been deemed not suitable to apply alone and only St George’s has shown any interest in a merger.

 

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