I wrote a few weeks ago about the absolute necessity to protect healthcare services at St Helier. Before the latest real threat to services at St Helier hospital, our local MPs have shown Ed Miliband how to weaponise the NHS by scaring residents into thinking their hospital was under perpetual notice of closure over the last two decades. The net result of this was to move most services away from Sutton Hospital to St Helier. The Sutton Hospital plot will soon be empty. I have also written before about the problems of building a school on the site.
Sutton Council, despite massive public opposition, gave planning permission for a Medical Centre and houses to be built on the old Henderson Hospital site in Belmont. To date, NHS England has not approved the business plan and our Lib Dem MP told the Belmont and South Cheam Residents Association Meeting, on 3rd February, that the project would not go ahead because it wasn’t viable without a commercial pharmacy.
Ever since the development was first proposed, residents have highlighted the shortcomings of the original plans, particularly the distance from public transport. That will particularly affect patients at the Grove Road Practice which will be relocated 1.7 miles away from its present location. The council were urged to reject the application and to work towards getting the Medical Centre on to the Sutton Hospital site. Unfortunately they took no notice.
Sutton Council seems to be prepared to spend millions of pounds on a sizeable plot of land on the Sutton Hospital site for a school and with no intention of using any part of it to build a Medical Centre. Despite this purchase there is still more redundant land on the Sutton Hospital site. The Council says it is working to provide a proper infrastructure for the residents of the Borough. Now it is time for it to respond to the wishes of local people and accomplish something positive for Belmont and South Sutton, as well as catering for the needs of patients around Grove Road.
Will it ever happen? Only if local politicians feel the weight of public opinion. That’s why I’m asking local residents to join me, local councillors and many other Belmont residents in supporting my campaign to see a new medical centre on the Sutton Hospital site akin to the Jubilee Centre in Wallington where people can go for blood tests and minor procedures, thus taking some pressure of St Helier. In doing this, the Royal Marsden and the Institute of Cancer Research will still have enough space to expand according to their current plans. We’re lucky to have two world class cancer centres on our doorstep and we should support them whenever possible. I hope that you will sign my petition here and if elected, I will continue to push for a medical campus on this site.