Huge demonstration to Save St Helier hospital

Local mums protest against government cuts to iconic south London hospital

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8th September, 2012

Local mums and their families filled the park opposite St Helier hospital this weekend in a mass picnic protest against government cuts to the popular local hospital.

The south London hospital is set to lose its Maternity, Children's and A and E services if government cuts go ahead.

The event, organised by local residents and Sutton Council, was a huge success, combining a fun day for local families with political speeches and the presentation of petitions.

Local groups spoke passionately about the well-loved local hospital while local politicians and hospital staff expressed anger and disbelief at the 29% cuts to local services.

"This is our hospital and we need it," said Kathy McGuinness, founder of Local Mums Online. "We are not going to give it up without a fight."

Community event
Local children enjoyed free skateboarding lessons, bouncy castles, face-painting and a visit from Peppa Pig while families picnicked alongside local councillors and MP Tom Brake.

Sutton Council leader and St Helier campaigner Ruth Dombey said: "The Save St Helier Fun Day has been an unprecedented success. Thousands of people have turned out and showed incredible community spirit. Lets hope BSBV sits up and takes notice of local people. This is just the beginning!"

The Better Services, Better Value (BSBV) panel, which is made up of local people, GPs and managers, is looking at ways to improve efficiency.

St George's, Croydon and Kingston hospitals are expected to take displaced St Helier patients.

Dr David Finch, local GP and joint medical director for BSBV, said: "Any recommendations have to be agreed by the local NHS and then would go out to full public consultation later in the year."

Local councillor Jill Whitehead commented: "My real concern is that we are heading towards an American style of politics and ultimately the demise of the NHS."

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