The number of in-patient hospital beds in Sutton and Epsom could drop from more than 800 to about 200 under the latest health plans.

In a new twist after the announcement that there will be no new hospital at Epsom, the director of the Better Healthcare Closer to Home policy, Mark Easton, has resigned.

A spokesman said Mr Easton has left for a new job. It has become clear that even a downsized St Helier Hospital is unaffordable unless it undergoes yet another redesign.

Politicians are at each other's throats after the last meeting of the joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee on October 8.

Chairman Councillor Stuart Gordon Bullock slated Mitcham's Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh, who has criticised the panel for delaying the health changes. He said: "Siobhain thinks there is a pot of gold to pay for this. Bunkum. The money is going to have to come from the sale of land. I am very sceptical about this - who knows what we will need in 100 years."

The panel, made up of Surrey, Epsom and Sutton Councils, saw plans that provided only about 200 acute beds, after a new critical care hospital with 500 beds was shelved.

A Better Healthcare spokesman said the options are being assessed.