Article Index

Time for Sutton to have the best Health and Social Care

A Labour Council will stand up for local residents to ensure our health services are protected and that we get the local resources we were promised by the last Labour Government but which were cut by the Tory/Lib Dem coalition and have not been restored under the current Tory Government

Labour will:

Health Principles

1. Support a properly integrated and accountable, publicly owned, publicly provided and adequately funded NHS.

2. Support a future Labour Government in ensuring the NHS is free from all “marketisation”, both internally & externally.

3. Oppose ''reconfigurations'' of London's services without proper local consultation and full local consent by local people and their elected representatives.

4. Welcome Labour’s national commitment to repeal the Health & Social Care Act 2012, restoring the Health Secretary's duty to provide an NHS. A Labour Council will also campaign against Clause 119 which was supported by local Lib Dem MPs in 2012.

5. Support an end to hospital closures & will argue for increasing funding to the European average and increasing beds per thousand resident’s to the European average.

6. Campaign for a publicly owned and publicly provided Social Care system with some scope for worker owned co-operatives integrated within the NHS.

7. Support the idea of a publicly-owned pharmaceutical manufacturing corporation which would supply a range of generic medicines for the NHS and work with universities to research new drug treatments.

8. Support the bringing back into NHS employment, with NHS pay, terms and conditions, all medical, clinical, admin, clerical and ancillary staff, currently employed by private contractors.

NHS and Brexit

9. Recognize and support EU nationals' crucial role in assisting London's NHS & campaign to exclude the NHS from any post-Brexit ‘free trade’ agreements.

STPs* and ACOs**

10. Oppose the direction of the South West London Clinical Commissioning Groups' Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP*) and its 'Five Year Forward View ('FYFV) & would not support it as a council. We oppose the projected financial cuts in the SW London Five Year Health Plan of some £828 million as we move to 2020.

11. Oppose the local development of any US-style Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs*) which are planned to replace NHS hospitals with down-skilled community units. We would support a democratically accountable NHS and an integrated National Care Service.

Acute Services

12. Celebrate that St Helier Hospital is one of the safest in the country and one of the few trusts in the country that consistently delivers the four-hour A&E target and is among the best in London.

13. Support a local health strategy that includes a full Acute Hospital service with A&E and maternity at the current St Helier Hospital site. In 2009 after years of Labour campaigning the last Labour Government agreed to £219 million for a partial rebuild of a new acute unit on the Ferguson House part of the hospital. This money was taken away from local people by the Tory/Lib Dem coalition in 2013.

14. Oppose the Epsom and St Helier Trust’s inadequate engagement exercise which seems mainly aimed at convincing their own staff and Epsom consultants to accept a small and inadequate acute unit on the Sutton Hospital site. We also strongly oppose the Trust’s secret agenda, which Labour is exposing, for the sale of parts of the St Helier site for housing purposes. We reserve the right to hold a referendum to ask residents to vote to keep the current full NHS health use of the St Helier site. This would create a “Residents’ Lock” on the site in future so its status can only be changed by another residents’ referendum.

15. In order to move things forward now and set the agenda, fully engage local people on the three real options for our local hospital’s future. A full rebuild would cost £750 million, a part rebuild like the 2009 proposal would cost £350 million and a more short-term refurbishment would cost £80 million. Labour’s preference is for a £750 million rebuild with all the 1930’s external facade protected and the hospital then made a Grade 2 listed building. We will engage with local people and, if we secure strong public support for that proposal, will demand resources from central government to fund it. The best option would be for the government to fund the rebuild and the loan made at a low rate of interest.

16. Continue to support the provision of Children’s Hospital Services at Queen Mary’s Hospital for Children on the St Helier site. Labour, health campaigners and trade unions locally fought hard to keep a local Children’s hospital with a big demonstration and march in Sutton in the mid 1990’s where Jeremy Corbyn MP was the main speaker. We will continue to fight for that service to stay where it is now.

17. Continue to recognise the importance of Epsom Hospital which is used by around 10% of Sutton residents. We want to see it retain its acute services too.

18. Do all we can to defend our local hospital if the Trust continues with its Sutton Hospital acute proposal. We will launch a much bigger campaign for this. We will have banners on our dustcarts and at the Civic Offices as Labour Merton has done. We will use all our scrutiny powers to slow down the process & support a judicial review to protect local services.

19. Press the hospital trusts to abolish parking charges to reduce the impact on local residents in surrounding roads.

Cancer Care

20. Support Specialist Cancer services at the Royal Marsden site. We want to see a “Cancer Hub” in Belmont, not a replacement acute facility. The Mayor of London also supports that Cancer Hub. We will demand all the land used at the Sutton Hospital site is used for NHS service purposes and to assist this the Council would aim to offer Council owned land to provide a site there for a public research body or a publicly owned pharmaceutical organization.

Primary Care

21. Support a comprehensive network of GP surgeries, Health Centres, Clinics and Community Health Services. GP services should be retained across the borough and we would oppose all services being concentrated in just 5 or 6 GP hubs. We will examine ways in which co-operative business can be developed in this area; eg a co-operative consortium of most (or all) local GPs could provide out-of-hours services, similarly, a co-operative out-of-hours dental service could be set up.

22. Invest more in mental health and, in particular, use our wider social policy plans to build relationships and tackle issues such as loneliness and isolation seeking to implement the Jo Cox Foundation report on these issues.

23. Support our local pharmacies and work with them to protect this vital service.

24. Demand that any locally developed “health apps” supplement the work of trained health staff and do not replace them.

Social Care

25. Provide modern Day Services for older people and disabled people and an in-house intensive Home Care Service. We would adopt the Ethical Care Charter which would mean an end to 15-minute home visits. We want to see accessible services and early intervention rather than a service led by eligibility criteria, and local provision which would include care co-operatives for children and vulnerable adults. We want to see a full replacement for the loss of services after the closure of SCILL(Sutton Centre for Independent Living).

26. Support the provision of Extra-Care Housing, but this should not be allowed to force elderly residents from their existing homes. We will examine ways in which co-operative business can be developed in this area. We will examine the creation of a “handyperson” service to help the elderly stay in their homes.

27. Support a reduction in “Meals on Wheels” charges after reviewing resources.

28. Expand the Occupational Therapy service: speeding up assessments, ensuring enough staff for ongoing provision; expanding the choice of physical disability services.

29. Enhance the existing Community Transport (CT) Scheme with the voluntary and co-operative sector. CT schemes could cover bus routes, taxi services, transport for High Need (SEN) students, Dial a Ride, etc. We also wish to expand the Blue Badge scheme to improve mobility.

Integration of services

30. Prior to future legislation, seek to develop whole person care locally through integrated health, mental health & social care services. We will work through CCG/HWBs using Section 31 agreements covering older people, mental health, physical & learning disabled.

31. In the longer-term develop a Sutton Care Service and consult as to how it can be integrated into the NHS with an all through budget for them. A move to NHS standards will increase the recognition of social care staff as part of the new wider NHS family.

Public Health and Well-being

32. Develop a Sutton well-being strategy which recognizes the need to tackle the root causes of Londoners' ill-health, e.g. poverty, the housing crisis and poor air-quality. In the long run, we would like to develop a pilot for what we would hope would be a future National Wellbeing Service, running alongside the NHS and a National Care Service, that integrated public health, mental health and advice services to empower people and prevent poor life episodes.

33. Develop the Council’s public health role & review all existing projects & contracts to address key health & social inequality targets. For example, we will see if public health monies could be spent on “social prescribing” such as providing free local gym membership & free swimming for those who are unwaged. We want to see our local public health service developing innovative behaviour change policies & contributing to community resilience.


34. Strengthen the local Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB) with more elected representatives. We will subject local CCGs to intensive scrutiny, including scrutiny of where GP surgeries are placed, who is funding them & GP financial interests. A key focus for Health Scrutiny will be to hold Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP) to account. We will also fully review the Epsom & St Helier Trust’s current proposals as well as considering evidence from those presenting alternative proposals.

35. Get the Council to hold an Annual Health Conference bringing together patients, public, local health campaigners, NHS practitioners, management & governance, along with Councillors to discuss in detail all current proposals in order to hold them better to account