Artist impressions of the current proposals for new hospital buildings in Epsom, St Helier and Sutton have been released as consultations about the projects get underway.

The images were initially shown to a group of residents in Sutton on January 21, before over 100 others in Merton got to see the various proposals now under consideration.

They have since been issued under general release.

Surrey Comet: Image: SW London CCG/NHSImage: SW London CCG/NHS

Each image shows an artists impression of one of several existing plans for new hospital buildings proposed for either Epsom, St Helier or Sutton hospitals.

The plans are being debated thanks to a £500 million boost to the three NHS Hospitals in the area.

The the clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Merton, Surrey Downs and Sutton are organizing public consultations for residents to have their say on the proposals and their all-important location of new emergency hospital buildings.

Surrey Comet: Image: SW London CCG/NHSImage: SW London CCG/NHS

Each CCG area will host three "listening events" during the consultation, which runs until April 1.

In addition to these nine listening events, there are 14 different ways the CCGs are engaging local communities, including an downloadable online feedback form, focus groups, telephone surveys and pop-up stalls.

As the Comet reported previously, the CCG leaders have already made clear their preference for the planned emergency care centres to be located in Sutton.

Surrey Comet: Image: SW London CCG/NHSImage: SW London CCG/NHS

They said that the building work would be more straightforward on the Sutton site, taking four years, as opposed to an estimated six for Epsom and seven at St Helier.

A previous draft CCG document suggested that building in Sutton would allow for three urgent treatment centres rather than two at either Epsom or St Helier Hospitals.

Merton GP and Clinical Chair of NHS Merton CCG Dr Andrew Murray urged residents to take a closer look at the images during the consultation process:

"These images give us an exciting glimpse of what a brand new 21st century hospital facility could look like and they offer people attending our nine listening events a visual idea of the buildings that could be provided as part of our £500 million investment in improving health services.

"Let us know what you think – the listening events in each CCG area are just one of a number of ways you can do that," he said.

While CCG documents about the proposals have touted the benefits of the £500m investment, residents have also expressed concerns.

Some fear existing emergency services could shift from Epsom and St Helier to Sutton if that site is chosen, while longer journey times to the new emergency care centres are also a concern.

Surrey Comet: Image: SW London CCG/NHSImage: SW London CCG/NHS

An NHS spokesperson reiterated the statement that, regardless of which site is chosen, the massive new investment across all three hospitals would ensure a majority of services (85 per cent) staying at both Epsom and St Helier hospitals.

Dr Ruth Charlton, Joint Medical Director for Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust, meanwhile commented on the urgency of the need for the plans to move forward.

"We have many buildings that are older than the NHS," she said.

"It can’t be right that sick patients are now wheeled around in their beds outside to reach other parts of the hospital – often in the rain – or that ambulances move people around for treatment because the lifts are too small for modern hospital beds.

"I want the most unwell patients to be able to get a fast diagnosis and start treatment more quickly to speed up their recovery.

"Our proposals for a new specialist emergency care facility set out how bigger teams of expert staff could do this," she added.

The full list of nine listening events, which take place between Tuesday 21 January and Tuesday 17 March, is reproduced below:

  • Sutton CCG listening events – Tuesday 21 January at the Holiday Inn, Gibson Road, Sutton SSM1 2RF (6.30pm-8.30pm); Wednesday 12 February at The Phoenix Centre, Mollison Drive, Wallington SM6 9NZ (1pm-3pm); Monday 2 March St Helier Community Association, Hill House, Bishopsford Road, Carshalton, Morden SM4 6BL (6.30pm-8.30pm).
  • Merton CCG listening events – Friday 24 January at the Chaucer Centre, Canterbury Road, Morden SM4 6PX (1.30pm-3.30pm); Wednesday 12 February at the New Horizon Centre, South Lodge Avenue, Mitcham CR4 1LT (6.30pm-8.30pm); Thursday 5 March at Chak 89, 105 Bond Road, Mitcham CR4 3HG (6.30pm-8.30pm).
  • Surrey Downs CCG listening events – Tuesday 28 January, The King’s Church Epsom, Longmead Road, Epsom KT19 9BU (1.30pm-3.30pm); Tuesday 11 February Epsom Downs Racecourse, Epsom Downs, Epsom KT18 5LQ (6.30pm-8.30pm); Tuesday 17 March, Bookham Community Association, The Old Barn Hall, 55 Church Road, Great Bookham, Leatherhead KT23 3PG.