Early engagement and options review
Since June 2018 we have been engaging with local people about the clinical, financial and estates challenges at Epsom and St Helier hospitals and some of the potential solutions.
The solutions propose bringing treatment for the seriously ill, and people at risk of becoming seriously ill, into one new major facility in the area. The majority of services (including outpatients, diagnostics, urgent treatment centres, antenatal and postnatal care, day surgery and district hospital beds) will remain at both Epsom and St Helier hospitals, and in addition we are proposing building a new major acute facility on one of the hospital sites – Epsom, St Helier or Sutton.
During our early engagement many people agreed that changes need to happen, but do not agree on what those changes should be. What is clear is that people value their local services and while many responses highlighted that people are willing to go further for better care, there is a natural desire to keep services closer to home.
People raised concerns about travel and access to hospitals, especially for those who are more isolated, deprived or less mobile. As well as this early engagement work, in November 2018 we ran three further independently facilitated workshops with members of the public, NHS professionals and other experts to consider the potential solutions. These workshops were part of our options consideration process which is still ongoing.
Assuring our plans
In December 2018 we submitted our draft Pre-Consultation Business Case for assurance to our regulators, NHS England and NHS Improvement. This document set out all of our work to date. During 2019 our regulators will assess all our plans to make sure they are robust and can deliver the very best future care to local people.
Our plans are also being reviewed by a joint independent Clinical Senate from London and the South East, to make sure our options are the best clinical model for local people. We will consider their recommendations and publish the report later in the year.
The three CCGs will consider feedback from the assurance process, an independent Integrated Impact assessment and any further evidence before deciding if they wish to proceed to public consultation on any proposals.
The timing of any consultation will be considered in the light of national advice and guidance from NHS regulators on the readiness to proceed, making sure we are able to secure the investment needed to make any service change happen.
Looking at the impacts on local people
We are continuing to work with external experts and an independent steering group to look at the full range of potential positive and negative impacts of our proposals on the local population, and particularly on people and communities where change might have more an impact.
This work is known as an Integrated Impact Assessment and runs in several phases. Phase one is completed and the findings can be found here: Initial Equalities Analysis. Phase two has started and an interim report will be published prior to any consultation, the third and final phase runs alongside a public consultation and is published prior to making any decision about options.
The assessment explores health, travel and environmental impacts and will include in-depth engagement with a range of local people from different backgrounds and protected characteristic groups.