Campaigners urge community to unite against plans to close hospital departments in South West London


Kingston Keep Our NHS Public are planning a demonstration this Saturday.


By SWLondoner staff

A demonstration will take place in Kingston this Saturday against recommendations to close A&E and maternity departments in two out of five South West London hospitals.

As part of the Londonwide NHS week of action, protesters are being encouraged to assemble at Norbiton Station at 12pm.

Although there has been no confirmation over which units will be shut down, local campaign group Kingston Keep Our NHS Public hopes they will gain a lot of support.

“We want people to come out and support the NHS, to support every local hospital,” said campaigner Richard Donnelly.

He added: “We need to stop politicians from playing one off against the other, this isn’t a question on whether they should shut down an A&E in Epsom or Kingston. The community across South West London has to be united in saying we want to keep all our NHS services and we don’t want to downgrade them.”

The Government’s “Better Services, Better Value” review, set up to look at how health services in South West London are provided in light of financial pressures and people living longer, is expected to announce its final plans later this month.

Councillor Suzanne Evans, shadow health spokesperson for Merton Conservatives and Chair of Merton’s Healthier Communities and Older People Scrutiny Panel is calling for a halt of the review. 

“I have now learnt from Matthew Hopkins, Chief Executive of Epsom and St Helier hospitals, that there have been deliberate attempts to have clinicians opposed to the plans to downgrade hospitals excluded from the process. How can the public have any confidence in the findings of this review?” she said.

“We have said all along that BSBV is flawed at many levels; to try and prevent medics from highlighting those flaws is completely unacceptable. It is time to call a halt to the whole thing.

“Local clinicians must have their views heard and there must be strong evidence to show such dramatic changes as those proposed will be in the best interests of residents. BSBV has failed on both counts; it’s time for it to stop before any more taxpayers’ money is wasted.” 

Photo courtesy of journeytorussia, with thanks.

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