The key options being considered by the Better Services Better Value (BSBV) review team for local hospitals have been leaked today and, as expected, Epsom Hospital is in the firing line.

The Epsom Guardian has learnt that the BSBV team, which is considering the reconfiguration of acute services across Epsom, St Helier, Croydon, Kingston and St George’s hospitals, has drawn up three ‘options’ for change - all of which would see Epsom Hospital downgraded.

The "preferred option" would see Epsom Hospital becoming an elective care centre and St Helier becoming a local hospital. 

Both would lose their A&E and maternity units.

The second, "non-preferred option" would see Epsom becoming a local hospital, with St Helier as an elective care centre.  Both would lose their A&E and maternity units under this proposal.

A third option is to turn Epsom Hospital into an elective care centre, with St Helier remaining as an acute hospital with upgraded services, and Croydon becoming a local hospital.  Under this option both Epsom and Croydon hospitals would lose their A&E and maternity services.

BSBV’s programme board is due to meet tomorrow to decide which of the options should be put to the seven clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in South West London and North Surrey, who are now in charge of the region’s healthcare.

It is expected to make its proposals public on Friday morning.

Chris Grayling MP said the "preferred option" confirmed what he is expecting to be announced.

He said: "With these options, the very real question is if the preferred option is agreed and Epsom becomes an elective care centre, what evidence is there that elective work will come to Epsom? 

"In a world of patient choice and hospitals who can take their own decisions, there is no certainty that it will. 

"The other question which arises from this is that if St Helier becomes a local, outpatient hospital, then what will happen to Epsom and St Helier hospital trust?

"This all has just not been thought through.

"If these plans are approved they will provoke a fierce backlash from the local community.

"I hope Surrey’s GPs do not go along with the proposals and hope people will urge their GPs not to do so."

A spokesman for Epsom and St Helier Hospital Trust said the trust was unable to comment on any recommendations at this stage, but said: "It's important to remember that the recommendations will still need to be agreed by the seven clinical commissioning groups in south west London and north Surrey. 

"They will also be subject to a 12-week public consultation.

"In addition, should the proposals be agreed, we would not expect to see any change to services until 2017/18 at the earliest.

"In the meantime, it remains 'business as usual' across our hospitals with our doctors, nurses, midwives and other staff continuing to focus on providing our patients with the best possible care."

A BSBV spokesperson said: "No decisions have been made yet and no recommendations have been agreed at this stage.

"This is the beginning of a long process - the BSBV Programme Board meets tomorrow and then any recommendations would need to be agreed by the seven local clinical commissioning groups, and following this, any proposals would be subject to a three-month public consultation."