AddThis SmartLayers

Weekly newspapers in fight to save hospital wards

Local newspapers from rival groups in South London are campaigning to save frontline hospital services that face the threat of closure.

The Newsquest-owned Sutton Guardian has launched Save St Helier after health bosses announced St Helier Hospital faces losing its maternity and A&E wards.

The threatened closure is part of a review affecting three other hospitals in South London including Croydon University Hospital, sparking a similar campaign by the Croydon Advertiser called Hands Off Our Hospital.

An NHS review panel this week pinpointed St Helier as the hospital most likely to lose the services.

Sutton Guardian assistant editor Matthew Knowles said: “The Guardian is determined that the public will actually get heard in the forthcoming consultation process and this plan to close a vital A&E and maternity unit will be properly scrutinised and possibly rethought.

“We launched this campaign online within minutes of the recommendation being announced with a Facebook page, e-petition, and dedicated Twitter feed @SaveStHelier.

“The announcement was made with 40 minutes to spare before our print deadline and we drew up three new pages to get the news in for the next morning.

“It was a great effort from the team and the public response has already been substantial less than 24 hours later.”

Glenn Ebrey, editor of the Northcliffe-owned Croydon Advertiser said the NHS panel has no decision-making powers and concerns remain that Croydon could lose out.

He said: “It has been a terrible few months for Croydon University Hospital and our coverage has led the way, in exposing the deep rooted problems there.

“However, a Croydon without A&E or maternity services is unthinkable and it is our duty as a local newspaper to do everything possible to campaign for this town’s best interests.

“The recommendations this week are very welcome but we will not rest until a firm decision is taken to spare Croydon from these cuts.”