On Monday 10 July, Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust published an engagement document which sets out scenarios for the future of the Trust beyond 2020.
Named ‘Providing high quality healthcare services 2020 to 2030’, it builds on engagement work launched in 2015 and is based on the feedback of more than 600 hundred local residents, as well as staff at the hospitals.
Keeping at least 85% of the care at both Epsom and St Helier hospitals, the Trust is looking for views on creating a new specialist facility to care for the sickest and most at-risk patients, and how existing buildings can be improved.
Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles said: “It’s our mission to provide great care to every patient, every day – both now and in the future. Thanks to the hard work and innovation of our staff, as well as strong working relationships with our health and social care partners, we have achieved a great deal and have a lot to be proud of. In recent years we have become much safer, improved the quality of our care, recruited hundreds more frontline clinical staff and stabilised our finances. But the fact is we are held back by our ageing buildings, many of which were designed before antibiotics were discovered.
“We want to continue improving and we aspire to deliver great quality care despite the many challenges we all know that the NHS faces in the short and medium term.
“Last year, we provided care to patients on more than 913,000 occasions – that was a record for us, and we expect to be even busier again this year. To make sure we understand what is important to local people and communities, we need your input; that is why I am asking you to get involved and to give us your ideas and thoughts.
“I would like to stress that no decisions have been made, and there’s still a lot of work to do. That said, we have heard very clearly that local people want to keep services local and so we are proposing that 85% of our patients will see no change to where they receive their care, but that they will be seen in improved local hospital facilities. We want to ensure as many people as possible are part of this conversation, so that we hear all the views that are around.”
Patients and local residents are encouraged to have their say, as the document contains a feedback section on the last page.
In 2015, we launched a comprehensive review of what our clinicians and healthcare professionals believed they would need to deliver high quality healthcare from 2020 onwards. At the same time, we discussed our thoughts with several hundred patients and other stakeholders to ensure we were listening to their needs and including their own ideas so that our services fitted into the wider NHS strategy for the region.
Two years on, we are publishing a document outlining scenarios. Our aim of talking to as many local people as possible is to understand what is important to our patients and local people, before further engagement and consultation can be carried out.
The Trust will be running information stands and roadshows in coming months, so please keep any eye out for dates and news on the Trust’s website at www.epsom-sthelier.nhs.uk. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns. A copy for all the documents can be accessed and downloaded from the Trust’s website: www.epsom-sthelier.nhs.uk/epsom-and-st-helier-2020-2030.
An update following recent press coverage
We would like to make it clear that, contrary to recent comments in the press, that the Trust has no preferred solution for the future of Epsom and St Helier. There are essentially three broad options we want to examine – to focus acute services at St Helier, to focus them at Epsom or to focus them at Sutton. Under all options, 85% of patients who currently use St Helier or Epsom hospitals will continue to do so. All three options will require a large amount of capital, and all will have operational and financial advantages and disadvantages. The Trust Board is keen to see the analysis and the evidence, so it can recommend a way forward that is based on objective analysis, for the ultimate benefit of the 500,000 people that we serve. That is the only objective the Trust Board has at the moment, as we recognise that the physical condition of our current estate and the financial imperatives that face the NHS mean that carrying on as we currently are is not viable or sustainable in the long term.