Councillors unanimously approved a position on the future of local healthcare - including on plans for Epsom Hospital.

Epsom and St Helier Hospitals Trust is considering scrapping the acute care unit at Epsom, and creating a state-of-the-art facility either to replace the Epsom unit, or build one in Sutton or St Helier.

At the Community and Wellbeing Committee on June 12, the council agreed it must be sited at Epsom.

Committee chairman Councillor Barry Nash said: “While this council is not a final decision-maker on the future of the borough’s health provision, as a community leader we do have to ensure the views of residents are heard.

“There is an understandable level of public concern on the future, given the changes that are being considered."

Councillors agreed the Sutton and St Helier options are "too London-centric", and they do not address the future population rise in the borough and east Surrey.

They also agreed a 24-hour A&E unit should remain at Epsom Hospital whatever option is chosen, to support treatment for all but the most serious of cases.

Cllr Liz Frost said: "If you haven't at least got an A&E, you are talking about people having a heck of a long journey, and public transport is very difficult.

"For people coming out of London, it's a lot easier for them to travel outwards."

The council has previously written to the trust - after a summer-long public "engagement programme" about the options in 2017 - but can now use its new unified position to argue more strongly.

Councillor Richard Baker, chairman of the Health Liaison Panel, said: "Residents' views are paramount. I hope that they would take our representations seriously, as we are elected representatives of the people.

"The MPs are elected and the councillors are elected. NHS officials are not democratically accountable, so we hope they take our position into consideration."

And the council is also asking the trust to immediately halt the process of selling off about a fifth of the land at Epsom Hospital, to fund £20.5million of repairs.

Cllr Baker said he had heard this described as "selling the family silver".

He said: "Once they're sold, they're sold. We want a sustainable future for the hospital site, and the sale must be opposed."

Cllr Frost suggested the trust might be able to lease the land in the short term, to avoid permanently losing it.