NHS Update from Chris Grayling August 2018

Dear constituent,

You may be aware that there is a mounting effort to stop the ill-judged plan by the Epsom and St Helier Trust to sell off a part of the Epsom Hospital site for development as housing.

The Trust Board has decided that a part of the land, including Rowan House, the red-brick building at the back of the site, and a section of the site adjoining it, are no longer needed.

However last year the Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles gave a written promise not to sell off any of the site until the long term future of the hospital is resolved. That promise is now being broken.

Last year, with the future of local hospitals starting to be discussed again, I sought an assurance from him that he would not pursue a sale while that discussion was going on. This was his reply to me.

"I can confirm that I agree with your condition that we can't sell land on the Epsom hospital site until we have arrived at a consensus on the range of clinical services that will be provided at Epsom for the future and so know how much space we will need. So we will not put any land up for sale in 17/18 at Epsom and will only do so in 18/19 if we have arrived at the long term answer."

Yet he is continuing to push for a new build acute hospital to serve the whole Trust area, and no long term decisions about this have been taken. I find this hugely frustrating, and it means once again that community pressure will have to be brought to bear against the wrong decision by local hospital management.

The Trust claims that it needs the money to balance its books. But the Government has just announced a big increase in funding for the NHS in the next few years, and our local Trust is in fact in a better financial position than many others elsewhere.

It is certainly true that money needs to be spent on improving Epsom, and the Trust claims that the proceeds of the sale will help do that. But with extra money on the way, and no firm decisions about the future, the danger is that a sale will take place, will remove options for the future, and cannot be reversed if it proves to be wrong.

I would be happy to see the site used to improve the availability of social care beds locally. I think there would be a logic in having a new facility aimed at supporting the frail elderly next to the hospital, to provide better all-round care for them. I would also support the building of another block for staff accommodation on the site.

But the current plan is to build 195 new houses and flats on the site, with more than 170 parking spaces, some of which would have to be built on “parking podiums”. I struggle to see how this could possibly fit with the surrounding area.

We do need to build more houses locally, but we will also need space for the NHS services that the occupants of those houses will need.

The Trust is an independent body, and so neither I nor any local politician can force it to change its mind, but it made a promise and I am pressing the directors very hard to keep that promise.

The next meeting of the Trust Board is in Conference Room 1 at Epsom Hospital on Friday August 10th at 9.30 am. I would encourage everyone who can to attend that meeting and make their views known in the strongest possible terms.

Best wishes,

Chris Grayling
NHS Update from Chris Grayling June 2018

Dear constituent

I am writing to you with an update on the local NHS. You may have seen this week that the local NHS has launched another local consultation about the way it runs services in future. Like many of you, I suspect, I think it would be better if they got on with the day job rather than carrying out yet more consultations.

This latest exercise is bound to be seen in the context of future decision making about Epsom and St Helier hospitals. In fact I have been told by the local Clinical Commissioning Group, which oversees our local services, that this is not an exercise that is purely about hospitals. They want to discuss how services should be run for patients in both the community and hospital environments in the future.

All of this is yet another distraction for the team at Epsom Hospital who continue to do a really good job for patients. The hospital is meeting its targets better than most others in the NHS and it has a first rate team of people working there. There have also been some very good improvements on the site, which I saw when I was there last week.

You will hear all kinds of rumours in the coming months, particularly with the Trust continuing to argue that there should be a new hospital in Sutton, but my view is this. It remains the case that no senior person in the NHS has told me that there is money available to build a new hospital locally. There is undoubtedly a problem with a number of the buildings at Epsom and St Helier, but it is performing too well as a hospital trust to be seen as in urgent need compared to some others. If and when this changes, I will tell you, and I will also carry out a proper consultation exercise with my constituents to see whether you all support the idea of a new hospital, or whether we should defend the status quo. Clearly if a new, single hospital is ever seriously proposed, I would argue for it to be at Epsom – but the reality is that the push in the NHS would be to locate it alongside the Royal Marsden hospital in Sutton. For now, though, any such development remains a distant prospect.

In the meantime, you will be aware that the Trust continues to want to sell off part of the Epsom site which it says is not needed. I am strongly opposed to any sale which does not keep the land for use for health and social care purposes. I am now working with the Borough Councillors on a cross-party effort to makes sure that this is what happens. I will keep you posted.

Best wishes

Chris Grayling
Crispin Blunt MP Press Statement – 29 September 2017
MP Convenes Public Meeting to Discuss Future Plans for New Hospital

Crispin Blunt MP chaired a public meeting at Banstead Community Hall this evening, giving the public an opportunity to ask questions and hear more about Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust’s proposals for a dedicated Specialist Acute Care Facility Such a new facility which would provide 21ST century solutions to acute health care needs in the Trust area. The meeting was very well-attended, providing fruitful insights into this unique opportunity.

Crispin Blunt fully supports the proposed option of siting the new hospital at Sutton, in the middle of the Trust’s catchment area where there is the land to build a modern, fit-for-purpose hospital. This would be co-located with The Royal Marsden at Sutton, a leading specialist cancer treatment hospital.

“Having previously met with the Chief Executive and Senior Managers from Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust, I remain convinced that it is essential to have a new acute care facility at Sutton, to enhance and upgrade the hospital service provided to my constituents around Banstead, Chipstead and to the north of Reigate and Redhill. Sutton offers an accessible location across the Trust’s catchment area.

“Following tonight’s public meeting, I am confident that local people will hear more about the benefits of supporting this proposal. I strongly encourage local residents to respond to the Trust’s involvement exercise.”

To find out more about the proposal, Crispin Blunt recommends reading the information on the Trust’s website:

Crispin Blunt Seeks Public Approval for Epsom and St Helier Hospital Trust's New Acute Care Hospital Proposal - September 2017

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust (E&SHT) needs public support for its proposal to create a new Specialist Acute Care Facility which will provide 21ST century solutions to acute health care needs in the Trust area. There are three options open for the possible location of this facility but, at this stage, the Trust has to demonstrate the advantages and demand for a dedicated Specialist Acute Care Facility in principle.

Crispin Blunt MP fully supports this proposal:

“Having met with the Chief Executive and Senior Managers from E&SHT today, I am convinced that it is essential to have a new acute care facility, otherwise the hospital service provided to my constituents north of Reigate and Redhill faces inevitable long term decline. The current facilities are out of date and the recruitment of doctors and nurses is increasingly challenging. It is absolutely essential that as many residents as possible respond to the consultation. The public need to show their support for the proposal to add weight to the argument for new, improved, life-saving, acute care facilities in order to prevent this unique opportunity from being lost. Whilst the requirement for this service seems blindingly obvious, there are groups in the St Helier area arguing that current local provision should be maintained and that a new acute care facility is not necessary.

For those who are unsure about the implications of supporting the proposal, I would recommend reading the information that is posted on the consultation web-site: https://epsom-sthelier.nhs.uk/epsom-and-st-helier-2020-2030 before responding.

Furthermore, in partnership with Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, I will be chairing a public meeting at the Banstead Community Hall on Friday 29th September from 6.30-7.30pm, where the public will be able to find out more about the proposal and ask questions to E&SHT”

Epsom Hospital Update from Chris Grayling MP - July 2017

The TWRA recently received the correspondence below.
Dear constituent

Firstly can I thank all of those who supported me in the recent election campaign. It is a great honour to represent this constituency, and I will continue to do so to the best of my endeavours.

There has been a significant development over the future of Epsom Hospital. The Chief Executive of the Epsom and St Helier Trust has today launched a public discussion about the future of the two hospitals, arguing that emergency and high end services, like maternity, need to be merged into a new building on one site. As I indicated in previous emails, he has been arguing that there should be a new hospital next to the Royal Marsden in Sutton for some time. But this discussion leaves open the option of building a new hospital at Sutton, Epsom or St Helier – a debate we have had many times before. I do not believe it is helpful to have that debate again now.

In particular, I do not believe it is helpful to our local community to keep getting caught up in a debate about how the NHS in London will operate in future. Some months ago, the regional leadership of the NHS in the South agreed in principle to Epsom being separated from St Helier, and for it to become part of a network of Surrey hospitals. I think this is a much better option for its future.

Decisions about the operational structure of the NHS are no longer taken by politicians, even at a senior level. They are left to the professional leadership of the NHS. But that will not stop me making a strong case for the future of Epsom and I intend now to push for that divorce to finally happen. I will also involve people locally, across the community and across the political spectrum, as has always been the case when we have resisted pressure on Epsom Hospital in the past.

I will come back to your shortly with suggestions about how you can make your voice heard in this new process.

In the meantime, I have included a copy of the letter (opposite) I have sent to Daniel Elkeles, the Chief Executive of the Trust.

With best wishes

Chris Grayling
Daniel Elkeles
Chief Executive
Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust

9th July 2017

Dear Daniel

Thank you for briefing me about your plans for a public debate about replacing the acute services at Epsom and St Helier hospitals with a single, new hospital for the future.

As I indicated to you when we spoke, I have profound concerns about what you are doing. When I wrote to you about the issue earlier in the year, I was clear that I did not agree with your plan to go forward with yet another discussion about this issue with no clear indication from NHS England that funds would even be available for the construction of a new hospital. You have not been able to provide me with any such indication. This has happened several times before, and it is simply not right to start yet another debate about local hospitals without this.

In addition, I said that given your preference for building a new hospital alongside the Royal Marsden, you would need to demonstrate the clear support of the Marsden board before you could engage in such a discussion. I talked to the Chief Executive of the Marsden on Friday, and it is clear that no such support had been provided by the time you briefed me, and the issue was not due to be discussed until a board meeting later this month.

I therefore strongly disagree with your decision to reopen this discussion at this moment in time. Since you have done so, though, it is my clear view that Epsom should now be separated from the debate about the future of hospital services in South West London and that Epsom and St Helier hospitals should separate.

Epsom is a Surrey hospital, and as you will know, there have been extensive discussions in recent months in NHS England about splitting Epsom away from the Trust and putting it into a network of Surrey hospitals, where medical staff can gain experience by working flexibly in different hospitals at different times. Epsom has also been a pathfinder in shaping a new partnership between primary, community and secondary care, and its performance has remained very good through a difficult period in the NHS. I am confident that it has a bright future.

I discussed this issue with the regional leadership of NHS England in the spring and they indicated to me that they were supportive of this option.

So may I now formally request that you start a process of separation of the two parts of the Trust, and that you engage in discussions with NHS London and NHS South to make this happen. This will enable the discussions about the future of hospital services within London to take place without the complications around the future of a Surrey hospital.

Given the interest in the issue, I am releasing this letter to the local media. I will also be making the case that now is the time for “divorce” between Epsom and St Helier in the local community. I am copying this letter to the Regional Directors of NHS England, to my local CCG, and to Simon Stevens.

Yours sincerely

Chris Grayling