Sutton’s councillors are up in arms following the revelation that A&E waiting times are at their worst level for a decade.

A health think-tank, The King’s Fund, found that nationally more than 230,000 patients waited more than four hours to be seen in casualty wards in the last three months of 2012.

That is 38 per cent more than the previous quarter and in breach government targets.

Councillors are calling for an end to the review, Better Services Better Value (BSBV), which has threatened St Helier Hospital’s A&E with closure.

Ruth Dombey, leader of Sutton Council, said: “These shocking figures are further proof that it would be utter madness to increase waiting times even more by closing St Helier Hospital’s A&E department.

"The other hospitals will not be able to cope.

"Sutton Council will continue the fight to save St Helier’s vital services for the residents of the borough.”

This week a leaked BSBV document revealed the odds stacked against St Helier Hospital retaining its A&E.

Councillor Mary Burstow, the chair of Sutton Council’s scrutiny committee said: “It is clear that the whole process has been rushed and key decisions are being pushed through without being given time for proper consideration. 

“I am particularly concerned that there is still no out of hospital care plan.

“You only have to look at the problems they are experiencing at the Jubilee Centre to see how long it is taking. 

“I am also very worried about the lack of GP engagement.”

Campaigners criticise BSBV for failing to identify how care would be provided in the community once an A&E department was axed.

The Jubilee Health Centre which opened in Wallington last year was intended to be part of the solution to that problem but it has suffered serious teething problems in its first few months.

BSBV will make its announcement on February 21 when the programme board makes their recommendation to the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts on which option should go to consultation.

Sutton’s two MPs intend to visit St Helier Hospital to speak to staff after the announcement.

Tom Brake the MP for Carshalton and Wallington is urging people to attend a public meeting to challenge those behind the review.

The meeting will take place at 7pm on Thursday, February 21, at the Carshalton Boys Sports College, Winchcombe Road.

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