A political row has broken out over a campaign to save a children’s ward at Kingston Hospital.
The 26 beds in Sunshine Ward could be closed if recommendations of the Better Services Better Value (BSBV) NHS review are pushed through.
Children would be forced to travel to St George’s Hospital in Tooting for overnight treatment.
A Liberal Democrat petition called on NHS South West London, Kingston Hospital, Kingston Council and the Department for Health to do everything in their power to stop the closure.
Lib Dem Grove ward byelection candidate Rebekah Moll, an administrator for Kingston Council’s adult social care team and intern for Edward Davey MP, said: “It is vital that we pull out all the stops to save Sunshine Ward.
“Thousands of parents and families rely on this life-saving children’s facility and it must stay at Kingston.”
But Laurie South, Labour’s candidate in the Grove ward byelection, said: “If the Liberal Democrats really believed in keeping Sunshine Ward, they would have campaigned against the expensive re-organisation of the health service and the cuts which are taking money from front line services like Sunshine Ward.”
Mr Davey, who has written a letter with Conservative Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith opposing closure, said: “Labour’s NHS review before the election seriously threatened Kingston Hospital’s A&E and maternity units – but thanks to the Lib Dem-led campaigns, these vital health services are now secure, and the BSBV review appears to have accepted that.”
Jonathan Rudd, of the Christian People’s Alliance, said the Lib Dems were allowing other cuts in the NHS.
He said: “I’m all for saving things but it would help if they were all singing from the same hymn sheet.”
Kingston Hospital has said the debate is still on-going. The final decision will face public consultation late this year.
The full list of candidates for the Grove ward by election has been released.
Six men and one woman will vie for the seat, with the vote due to take place on Thursday, July 5.
The candidates are Adrian Amer (Conservative), David Child (BNP), Ryan Coley (Green Party), Rebekah Moll (Liberal Democrat), Jonathan Rudd (Christian People's Alliance), Laurie South (Labour), Michael Watson (UK Independence Party).