The council has reiterated its commitment to keeping St Helier hospital but wants to prevent people from having to go there unnecessarily.

Sutton Council has launched its new health prospectus and it sets out its vision for health provision in the borough.

While the report emphasises a commitment to keeping services at St Helier hospital, it also calls for more services to be provided in people's communities to prevent them from having to go to hospital.

Council's have a greater role in health provision since Government reforms in 2012. Now it has greater influence over how local services are provided and is even in charge of certain areas of public health, such as encouraging people to stop smoking.

The document, which was backed by the council's strategy and resources committee during a meeting last night, crystallises the council's views on various areas of health.

But it it also has a focus on promoting care in people's communities to avoid them from having to go to hospital while protecting the acute services hospitals provide.

Councillor Ruth Dombey, leader of the council, said: "We need a good local hospital but the fact remains that often the hospital is the only place people can go when healthcare could be delivered elsewhere in the community.

"I will fight to keep our good local hospital and encourage the NHS to think about how healthcare can be best delivered in the community.

"It means people will use the hospital for their acute needs rather than their minor needs."