Sutton Hospital will be sold off in 2016 to help pay for the revamped St Helier Hospital but part of the site could still be retained for health purposes.

Epsom and St Helier Hospital bosses are in negotiations with the Royal Marsden Hospital which may run a general treatment and diagnostic centre on the site.

Although some wards at Sutton are closing, part of the hospital will be kept open until St Helier’s new wing is complete to ensure there is room for some temporary wards to be set up while building work takes place.

But healthcare campaigner Geoff Martin is cynical about the proposed timescale for the sale of Sutton Hospital.

He said: “They will sell it off much quicker than that – they need the money to spend on St Helier.”

The £215m Better Healthcare Closer to Home project is under way as far as Sutton and Merton are concerned.

The plans to surround the renovated St Helier with local care hospitals has been approved by Sutton and Merton Primary Care Trust and by Epsom and St Helier Hospital University Hospitals NHS Trust and will now go forward for approval by NHS London.

The plans also include major investment in intermediate care services for people who don’t need to go to hospital or who need rehabilitation after a hospital stay.

Chief executive of the PCT Bill Gillespie said: “We have listened carefully to local people and they have made it clear they want more care provided closer to where they live.

“We believe these proposals will give Sutton and Merton residents a network of care that will provide much better treatment close to where they live, while enhancing and developing the services of an excellent local hospital.”

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