Parties in Wimbledon ignore St Helier Hospital support pledge ahead of election

Parties battling out the election campaign in Wimbledon have largely ignored the ‘Keep our St Helier Hospital’ campaign’s request for candidates to sign a pledge of support for the hospital.

The group asked all parties to sign up to the pledge before the election but with a week to go on two had.

KOSHH is a politically neutral campaign that strives to protect the future of the hospital and so far Charles Barrabal of the Green Party and Labour candidate Imran Uddin have committed themselves to the cause.

Sandra Ash, a KOSHH campaigner, stressed the importance of the pledge.

“All of the pledges are very much about the NHS getting back to its original principles, being cost-effective and giving some of the best results in the world, which it was found to do in 2010,” said Ms Ash.

“If people are dying or dead, then education is irrelevant, the fundamental is to keep people fit and healthy and that’s going to suffer if we carry on the road to driving it towards an insurancebased system.”

Wimbledon Conservative candidate Stephen Hammond, who used to hold the seat, is aware of the KOSHH pledge but has not yet signed.

He said: “I want to do all I can to make sure that St Helier Hospital receives the investment and improvements that it needs over the next few years.”

The KOSHH campaign is a response to plans to reduce the number of acute hospitals, outlined in the South West London Five Year Forward Plan.

KOSHH campaigners fear the hospital will be closed or downgraded, but Labour candidate Imran Uddin lent his support to the campaign.

He said: “I am the councillor for St Helier so I know my residents are right in the thick of the need, I know my residents and I know how vital that hospital is for particularly our elderly population.

“St Helier in particular, with its location, its demographic, it’s lunacy really thinking of downgrading any services there, in fact we should be upgrading services there not downgrading.”

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