We used different ways of involving patients, carers and residents across Surrey Downs, Sutton and Merton to make sure that as many of them as possible were involved in developing and shaping proposals at an early stage. Working with patient, carer, voluntary and community groups, including Healthwatch, we reached over 1,500 people from a wide range of backgrounds. Online, 25,000 people looked at our video, visited our website and looked at our social-media information.
We learned that:
- people agreed that things must change to make sure there is high quality hospital care for future generations
- people recognise that workforce challenges and problems with current buildings need creative solutions (but there is no clear agreement about the type of change needed)
- residents value their local health services and, on the whole, they are in favour of keeping services closer to home
- some people are willing to travel further, while some prefer treatment at home or closer to home, and
- people are concerned about travel times to hospitals, the cost of transport, parking, and other issues to do with access, especially for older people, people living with major life challenges and those who live on a low income or have trouble getting out and about.
What has guided our proposals
We have used what we heard from residents, patients and carers at each stage of the development of our proposals to:
- help shape the new clinical model of care, including extending the opening hours of the proposed urgent treatment centres from 8am to 8pm to 24 hours a day
- design the criteria to help us evaluate the options and discuss what is important to local people in looking at the advantages and disadvantages of each of the options, and
- highlight the effects the proposals could have on different communities so that we can strengthen them.
What do doctors, nurses and other NHS staff say?
We have received advice from independent clinical experts who reviewed our proposals. The Clinical Senates of London and the South East provide independent advice on any proposals that would result in changes to the way hospital services are provided. They have studied our proposals and have stated that there are significant benefits to bringing together the six acute hospital services into a new purpose-built specialist emergency care hospital located on one of the three hospital sites: Epsom, St Helier or Sutton.