The Epsom Guardian today launches a campaign to protect the future of acute services at Epsom General Hospital – and we want you, the hospital users, to have your say.
The future of Epsom Hospital’s most important services – such as accident and emergency – will soon be in the hands of a consortium of GPs who will control the lion’s share of the region’s NHS budget.
While the trust has not explicitly said these services are under threat, it cannot confirm they are safe.
This has led to widespread concern from residents, politicians and campaigners who fear services could be moved to other hospitals.
But this is not something that has already been decided. We want people to know they do have a say in the matter and they can influence decisions.
The hospital’s future took an uncertain turn in December after it was announced by Epsom and St Helier the trust would separate – after almost 11 years as a combined entity – because they could not attain foundation status together.
All hospitals have been told they must achieve foundation status by 2014, and it was decided the trust’s future was not financially viable in partnership with St Helier.
Epsom Hospital will either become a foundation trust on its own, merge with another foundation trust or team up with a non-foundation trust.
Coupled with this re-arrangement of the financial structure of the hospital, the coalition Government plans to abolish all 151 primary care trusts and hand GPs control of about 80 per cent of the £100bn NHS budget by 2013.
Criticism has also been levelled at the trust for wasting taxpayer cash.
In 2007, plans to build a £350m hospital to replace the existing buildings at Epsom and St Helier were scrapped, despite millions being spent on consultation and preparation.
And despite the trust’s assurances it would gain foundation status with St Helier, these promises were not acheived.
Governments and financial structures will come and go, but it is patients and their carers who ultimately depend upon Epsom Hospital’s services.
That is why it is so important that you are involved directly in the decisions that will determine their future.
What do you think of the possible changes? Use the form below to let us know...