"NHS must find way out of this mess", says MP after Epsom Hospital merger called-off (From Your Local Guardian)
"NHS must find way out of this mess", says MP after Epsom Hospital merger called-off
MP Chris Grayling said the NHS "must find a way out of this mess" after hearing that Epsom Hospital’s planned merger with Ashford and St Peter’s has fallen apart.
The MP told the Epsom Guardian he has already spoken with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt about his concerns for the future of Epsom Hospital, but reassured residents this was "not the end of the process".
He said: "It’s very disappointing and I’m hugely frustrated.
"I really do not understand how we can be in a position where a month ago, all of those involved were standing on a platform in Epsom and Ewell town hall taking about the hospital’s future and now it is not viable at all.
"There is a real issue around the local leadership the NHS is providing. A lot of different organisations have been involved in the process, but I simply do not understand how it could have gotten into this position.
"I will have urgent meetings with the parties involved. I have already had a brief conversation with the Health Secretary to raise my concerns and I will also be sitting down with doctors at Epsom Hospital in the next couple of weeks.
"We have to re-double our efforts."
NHS London decided today, at its board meeting, to pull the plug on the proposed acquisition of Epsom Hospital by Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust because a financially viable plan for the future of Epsom hospital as part of the merged trust could not be developed.
The hospital, currently part of Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, is due to de-merge with St Helier Hospital on April 1, 2013.
The decision to de-merge the hospitals was taken because they were not considered to be economically viable in one trust.
When asked where the situation stands if Epsom and St Helier Hospitals are not considered to be financially viable together, or seperately merged with other trusts, Mr Grayling said: "That’s a good question.
"I think Epsom Hospital needs imaginative leadership to make the best use of the site and its facilities which I don’t think has happened for years.
"Some of the ideas of Ashford and St Peter’s were really exciting in this respect and I’m really concerned that it can’t make that happen.
"I don’t think this is about the financial deficit at Epsom Hospital. I’m not sure how much this is about it not being economically viable and how much it is about Ashford and St Peter’s getting cold feet.
"Between the start of this process and now nothing has significantly or materially changed in terms of the hospital’s deficit.
"NHS Surrey and NHS London need to get together and talk about how on earth they got into this mess and how they are going to get out of it.
"The future of both Epsom and St Helier is uncertain, but making major changes at both hospitals is utterly unreasonable.
"We have got to find a way out of this."