Health Secretary Matt Hancock gave plans for a state-of-the-art emergency healthcare facility the green light, despite opposition from residents, MPs and Merton Council.

The announcement comes after the new site was approved to be built in Sutton, by the NHS Committees in Common of the South West London and Surrey Heartlands Clinical Commissioning Groups, on July 3.

The new care facility will arrive as part of a massive state investment of £500 million for improving Epsom and St Helier Hospitals.

The plans will see 'six major' services including, A&E, critical care and emergency surgery be combined and moved to a new site in Belmont.

Surrey Comet:

Matt Hancock has now accepted the recommendation of the Independent Review Panel that the site should be built in Sutton.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: "This new hospital will be transformational for patients and staff at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals Trust and the wider community.

"I look forward to seeing the hospital take shape over the coming months and years, and hope that the public will be as involved as possible in shaping the new services.

"This new hospital is one of 40 we are building up and down the country by 2030, as part of our £3.7 billion hospital building programme."

Surrey Comet:

The Leader of Merton Council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis MBE, says people in the "most deprived parts of Merton" will be hit hardest by the plans.

He said: “It is very disappointing news that the Independent Configuration panel has decided not to carry out a full review of plans to downgrade critical care services at St Helier Hospital.

“This does not change the fact that thousands of people in the most deprived parts of Merton will be adversely affected by the plans to close acute services at St Helier Hospital.

“The impact of the pandemic has not properly been taken into account by the CCGs, but the lives of many more people with Covid-19 will be saved at St Helier Hospital this winter.”

Siobhain McDonagh, the Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden, also agreed that services are being moved further away from those most in need.

She said: "We’re in the middle of a global pandemic, how can it possibly make sense to downgrade two local hospitals, persisting with awful proposals to remove their A&E, critical care, children’s beds, and maternity services – and placing them in leafy, wealthy Belmont, far from public transport and the community that needs them most.

"Why is it that much always gets more? On behalf of everyone who relies on St Helier Hospital – or St George’s and Croydon that would be completely overwhelmed by the additional number of patients that will turn there – I will continue to fight this decision every step of the way."

Conservative MPs Paul Scully, Elliot Colburn and Stephen Hammond have welcomed the news - they say that the rejection of the referral has "further highlighted the benefits for all residents." 

Daniel Elkeles, Chief Executive, Epsom and St Helier University Hospital Trust, said:

"We welcome the advice from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, and are delighted that the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has agreed that we should proceed.

"We are now proceeding at full speed to design the new hospitals and will soon be engaging with our local communities on the new hospital facilities.

"All being well we aim to have builders on site in Sutton in Spring 2022, with a new Specialist Emergency Care Hospital opening in 2025."