In September 2019, the Improving healthcare Together programme was allocated £500 million to improve the current buildings at Epsom and St Helier hospitals as well as build a new specialist emergency care hospital on one of the three sites – Epsom, St Helier or Sutton.

The Improving Healthcare Together 2020-2030 programme is led by experienced GPs from NHS Surrey Downs, Sutton and Merton Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) who are responsible for planning care for patients and communities.

We want to make sure the very best quality of care is available to our patients and communities, and that it is sustainable into the future from buildings which are fit for purpose.

To do this, we have come together to resolve the long-standing healthcare challenges facing Epsom and St Helier hospitals. For more about these challenges please visit the IHT ‘Why do we need to change?‘ page.

 

What does the IHT Programme do?

The IHT Programme is working with Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust to address a series of long-standing challenges and improve healthcare for local people in the future. They are looking at ways to address the challenges around major acute services in our local hospitals. This is being done by working with clinicians, staff, patients and the public to ensure the work delivers the best solutions for our health and care services. Please read more about this work in our what people think page.

 

What are we trying to achieve?

We want to make sure local people have the best quality health services for generations to come, in modern, safe buildings with the majority of services provided on both hospital sites and in the community, close to people’s homes.

You can find out more about the programme by reading the frequently asked questions or key documents found in our important documents.

 

For more information on the IHT Programme, please visit https://improvinghealthcaretogether.org.uk/

 

What next?

NHS Surrey Downs, Sutton and Merton Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) met in public on Monday 6 January and agreed to launch a public consultation on 8 January on three potential options for the location of a brand new specialist emergency care hospital – on the Epsom, St Helier or Sutton hospital sites. Sutton was agreed by the CCGs as a preferred option, but health leaders were clear that all three options could be delivered and will be consulted on by the NHS.

 

The new 21st century hospital facility would bring together six services for the most unwell patients, as well as births in hospital.

 

All three options would see the majority of services (85%) staying at Epsom Hospital and at St Helier Hospital, with an investment of at least £80 million in the current buildings. Both hospitals would run round the clock, 365 days a year, with urgent treatment centres, inpatient and outpatient services.

 

The CCGs have set out their preferred option for the new state-of-the-art hospital facility to be Sutton Hospital, next to the Royal Marsden specialist cancer hospital.  Services for the most unwell patients would be provided at the specialist emergency care hospital, including A&E, critical care, emergency surgery, inpatient children’s beds, as well as births in hospital. The consultation proposals explain that this option would have the greatest benefit for the most people, the least overall impact on travel for older people and those from deprived communities, while also having the smallest increase in average travel time for the most people. It would also be the easiest and fastest to build – taking around four years, rather than up to seven for the alternative options.

 

Following the meeting at Bourne Hall in Ewell near Epsom, Surrey GP and Clinical Chair of NHS Surrey Downs CCG Dr Russell Hills said:

 

“It’s important to stress that under all the options we’re consulting on the vast majority of the current services would continue at refurbished Epsom and St Helier hospitals and both would continue to provide care for people with injuries like broken bones, day surgery, beds for older people recovering from illness and outpatient services – with urgent treatment available for local people day and night.

 

“Most of our hospital buildings are older than the NHS. All our patients and staff deserve to be in dry, clean, modern hospital facilities that are fit for purpose.”

 

 

Dr Ruth Charlton, Joint Medical Director for Epsom St Helier NHS Trust said:

 

“Our hospital staff work extremely hard day-in day-out, and it’s down to their dedication and commitment that our hospitals manage to provide a good service for patients. However, we cannot go on relying on the goodwill of our staff. We need to bring together our specialist doctors and healthcare staff, so we can meet national standards for emergency care, around the clock at evening and weekends. I want my most unwell patients to be able to get a fast diagnosis and start treatment more quickly to speed-up their recovery. These proposals set out how bigger teams of expert hospital staff at a specialist emergency care hospital could do this.”

 

 

The NHS is now urging people to give their views between Wednesday 8 January and Wednesday 1 April 2020. As well as responding online directly to the consultation questionnaire, people can get involved through a whole range of different ways designed to make sure the NHS hears as many voices, from as many communities as possible, including those who find it difficult to go to meetings or respond in writing. These include a series of nine public listening events, focus groups, telephone surveys, pop-up stalls in busy places, funding voluntary groups to help communities engage with the consultation, as well as targeted outreach work with groups such as older people and deprived communities as well as seldom heard groups like people with learning disabilities.

 

A copy of the full consultation document and a consultation questionnaire will be available to access from improvinghealthcaretogether.org.uk from 8 January. Alternatively, a hard copy can be requested by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling 0203 8800271. To keep up to date on the consultation visit the Improving Healthcare Together 2020-2030 Facebook page or the @IHTogether Twitter feed.

 

The local NHS is determined to make sure its consultation plans are as thorough, wide-ranging and transparent as possible. The “Improving Healthcare Together Programme” has been awarded a ‘best practice’ standard for its public consultation plan from an independent organisation called ‘The Consultation Institute’. The consultation documentation has also been approved by the ‘Plain English Society’.

 

Health leaders were keen to emphasise that no decisions will be made on the future of Epsom and St Helier hospitals until the spring or summer when the CCGs will consider the views of local people and all the clinical and financial evidence.