Children's cancer centre decision

14 Mar 2024
Paul Kohler outside of St George's hospital

I am sorry to have to tell you that the NHS today decided to move children's cancer care from St George's in Tooting & the Royal Marsden in Sutton to the Evelina Hospital in Lambeth. This is in line with a plan to rationalise paediatric cancer care in the South East of England and follows a consultation, prior to which the NHS had already stated their preference for the Evelina - a process described as flawed by Lib Dem leader, Sir Ed Davey, in the Commons yesterday.

I believe this decision is fundamentally misguided and fails to address the various points raised in the Merton Lib Dem submission to the consultation. In particular, it seriously underestimates the risks of moving children's cancer care services away from St George's, with its 25 years of experience, to a hospital that has never provided cancer care. A point made repeatedly by local MPs from all three main parties in the Parliamentary debate I attended yesterday in Westminster Hall, called by Lib Dem MP, Munira Wilson.

I, together with Wimbledon's Conservative MP & the Labour Deputy Leader of Merton Council, have previously written to the Secretary of State for Health to express our concerns and I am now joining with others in demanding that she 'call-in' the decision. Ed also raised the matter at Prime Minister's Questions yesterday where Rishi Sunak made a commitment that the Health Secretary would meet with him urgently.

I have kept in touch with St George's throughout this process. They are keen to stress there will be no interruption to care for current patients. 

Cllr Paul Kohler

14th March 2024