A minister has given assurances that the government is “committed” to building a new South London emergency hospital despite delays.

It came after MP for Carshalton and Wallington, Elliot Colburn, raised the plight of St Helier Hospital, which is plagued by leaks and flooding, in parliament on Friday (February 24)

The hospital is expected to be refurbished as part of an overhaul of emergency care in South London.

A separate emergency hospital is planned for Sutton which would include an accident and emergency department, critical care, acute medicine, emergency surgery, inpatient paediatrics and a maternity unit.

This would mean A&E departments at Epsom and St Helier hospitals would become “district hospitals” with urgent treatment centres rather than emergency departments.

The ageing buildings at St Helier Hospital are in desperate need of refurbishment and have been described as “crumbling” by the NHS trust.

However, delays to the £500m project have caused concern over its future.

Despite being approved by the government in 2020, planning permission is yet to be submitted.

The original date for completion was 2025 but now the earliest it would open is 2027.

Mr Colburn said he was “proud” a new hospital would be built in the area but called for action on plans to move forward.

He asked for assurances the new facility would be built and St Helier would get vital investment.

The Conservative MP said: “The delays are causing a number of complications that need to be addressed.

"Epsom and St Helier have had a particularly challenging winter made even more difficult by its old tired estate.

"Its patients have been cared for in near-impossible conditions, including flooding wards, leaking roofs and in the cold due to heating failures.

“The NHS trust has spent vast amounts already trying to maintain its old buildings and the backlog in maintenance costs are awful, well over £100m, plus the expense of duplicating services across two hospitals.

“We are now in the position where 98per cent of the St Helier estate is considered to be in a poor or bad condition. 

"We do desperately need more upfront funding so it can submit a planning application and start building work new hospital and renovation works at St Helier.

"Every day that the decision is delayed is only going to lead to a more expensive maintenance bill at the end.”

Health and social care minister, Will Quince, said the government is “working closely” with the NHS trust.

He said: “It will be one of the first larger and more complex schemes to be taken forward in line with the national programme approach.

"I know the trust is currently at the outline business case stage and we are working closely with them.”

He said that to date, the trust has been given £20.5m, which includes fees for design work and the cost for an electronic patient system.

Mr Quince added: “I want to assure, we are committed to delivering a new hospital for the Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust.”