The Better Services Better Value (BSBV) review has been dismissed as a "sham" by the country’s biggest public sector trade union.

Martin Walker, regional officer at Unison, said the recommendation announced by the BSBV programme board last Wednesday, January 9, that two A&E and maternity services would be cut across the region, clearly points to Epsom and St Helier Hospitals, even though consultation on Epsom’s inclusion in the review has only just started.

He said: "In theory we can’t say which hospitals have been earmarked but everyone knows there’s no doubt that it’s Epsom and St Helier. 

"Croydon has too big a population to lose its A&E, and Cameron and Clegg gave personal commitments during the 2010 general election that Kingston would not lose its A&E.

"It can’t be any of the other hospitals. The BSBV team say they are in the consultation period, but it’s a sham consultation.

"If A&E and maternity services go from both Epsom and St Helier it will leave a gap in provision, but the argument used is that there are big gaps in East Anglia and the North of England in this sense where people are travelling hundreds of miles to get to a hospital."

Mr Walker added: "These plans for our NHS are shocking in their scale, are being rushed through, with little regard to clinical need, in an attempt to meet the swingeing cuts imposed by the coalition government.

"This is now turning into a battle not for just for a local A&E department, but a battle to save the NHS."