‘Improving Healthcare Together’ plans mean nothing more than cutbacks at Epsom and St Helier Hospitals, writes Helen O'Connor of the GMB Southern Region
Health chiefs at Epsom and St Helier NHS hospitals are failing to consider the health needs of the community as they press ahead with plans to merge hospital services during the pandemic.
Both Epsom and St Helier hospitals will be stripped of their acute services including two busy Accident and Emergency departments which will be downgraded to Urgent Treatment Centers (UTC).
All acute services from the two busy hospitals will be concentrated into a smaller building on the Sutton hospital site. If the plans go ahead more people will die at home or in the back of ambulances as they struggle to access the type of life-saving emergency care that is currently available at both St Helier and Epsom hospitals.
GMB Members are also concerned that these changes will lead to multiple, disruptive restructures that will threaten health workers jobs and lead to a further deterioration in pay, terms and conditions.
If you work in any job role in acute services, you will go through a restructuring process at some point. Restructures mean that services will merge, job roles will be re-evaluated, reductions in the skill mix, possible redundancies and increased workloads as the acute services in two hospitals will be moved and concentrated into one small site in Sutton.
Ultimately both Epsom Hospital and St Helier hospital will be downgraded as district general hospitals, losing all their acute services and paving the way for both hospitals to eventually be shut down for good.
GMB Union members and the community have joined forces to call on the trust to invest in the existing hospitals and in staff pay, terms and conditions rather than throw public money into the pockets of construction company bosses. Join us opposite St Helier hospital on Sunday the 26th of July from 3:00 pm as we launch our first protest against these deadly plans.
Helen O'Connor (GMB)
KEEP OUR NHS PUBLIC and NHS Staff Voices are joining the call to stop the relocation of acute services from Epsom and St Helier hospitals and urge you to join our peaceful, socially distances protest on Sunday 26 July from 3:00 pm, alongside local campaigners and GMB members.
Check out the Facebook event here and share widely!