Friday, 29 July 2016

Molesey Hospital saved - but what happens next?

I am very pleased to confirm that Molesey Hospital has been saved from closure, following a meeting by local NHS decision makers in Leatherhead on Friday afternoon. Former Molesey councillor Peter Szanto and I attended for the Conservatives along with MRA members and concerned residents, many of whom turned up with placards and banners showing support for the hospital.

Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) held a public consultation on four options it was looking at to change how and where it will provide services in future. Two of those options involved the closure of Molesey's 120-year-old hospital and the transferral of its 12 beds to Cobham Hospital, which we had argued all along was impractical due to the poor public transport links, and undesirable given that the population of Molesey is greater than in Cobham. It makes better sense to site a community hospital in the area of the most potential patients, right?

The GP-led CCG voted unanimously for 'option 2' which concentrates changes in Epsom and Ewell area and grants Molesey a reprieve. Everyone was delighted! James Blythe, director of commissioning and strategy for the CCG, called the consultation process "robust" and called the responses from Molesey "significant". He went on to say that it was desirable to have bed based units in key areas of the Surrey Downs patch, including in North Elmbridge.

Peter and Steve ahead of the Leatherhead meeting
However he went on to characterise Molesey Hospital as having "significant physical challenges", ie in need of repair and they would "absolutely retain services but we would look at what sort of building and where". So clearly there are still a number of unknowns going forward, principally what will become of the current Molesey Hospital building? Reading between the lines it sounds like Mr Blythe and his colleagues feel that a modern facility is required, but will this be built on the current site or will the existing estate be sold or part sold to pay for a new hospital on another site, if so where?

So overall great news and all credit to the fantastic Molesey community who have really got behind the cause of the hospital. But all of us - residents and local politicians - need to keep a close eye on how things develop going forwards.

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