Chairman's Blog - May 2015


The NHS has converted the Nelson Hospital in Kingston Road into a major health centre at a cost of £12 million.  Members of the Association were invited to its opening last month and given a tour of the extensive new facilities. They are very impressive. 

The aim is to have as many of the primary health and community services that people need under one roof, so as to provide integrated health care.   Two of the local GP’s practices, the ones at Cannon Hill Lane and at Church Lane in Merton Park, re-located there at Easter, and will, in essence, merge. The new practice contact details are:

The Nelson Medical Practice, Kingston Road, London SW20 8DB, telephone number:  020 3668 3400.Website:  

You can now book appointments, request prescriptions, and access your medical records online. 

Other services will also be provided at the building, which will assist in speedy diagnosis of illnesses.  These include x-rays, ultrasound, blood tests, and endoscopy. There will be physiotherapy and outpatient clinics.  Minor surgery will be undertaken. Community mental health services are also going to be provided.  

There is some parking available at a fee, although this is limited. 

The design of the building has been carefully and lovingly done, so as to incorporate the original Nelson Hospital, which dates back 100 years. This is an example of NHS planning at its best. 


An example of NHS planning at its worst is seen in the long running saga on the future of St Helier Hospital. The Times reported last month that secret plans to close St Helier and Epsom Hospitals were revealed when management consultants were heard discussing the plans on a conference call on their mobile phones while on a commuter train into Waterloo. A BBC London reporter recorded the conversation on his mobile phone.     

Of course, none of these plans had been discussed in any public forum. The public had been assured last time these plans were put forward, and which were then widely opposed and withdrawn, that there would be full consultations before they would be re-considered. 

It now appears that the hospital trust has commissioned the consultants to consider the closure of both hospitals, and to replace them with a new “super hospital” on the site of the former Sutton Hospital as the preferred option. The two other options being considered are for the hospital to be built on the site of one of the existing hospitals. 

Assurances have been given that existing services at both hospitals, including A & E, and maternity, are safe for the next 5 years, and that there will be extensive consultations in due course on the proposals.

We pointed out in our Members' Monthly magazine, The Guide, during discussion of the previous plans, that A&E and maternity services are increasingly under pressure, and indeed overwhelmed, that the population of this area - and particularly of older people and children - is growing, and that the transport available in Merton does not allow for quick access in an emergency or at all to the then proposed alternatives of Croydon, Guildford, The same would be true of Sutton.  

We share the outrage of all those who have so far commented at the underhand and secret way these unwelcome proposals have been pursued, at public expense, and without any prior consultation. 


Our affiliated organisation, The Friends of Cannon Hill Common, report that they managed to obtain and plant about 1000 free spring bulbs over the New Year. These were daffodils and narcissus which have been planted along the borders of  Parkway and Cannon Hill Lane, and alliums planted on the site of the former pavilion. Some of these have already emerged in the recent warm weather, and do much to delight the spirit. 

We urge everyone who loves the Common to join the Friends. They do a great  deal to preserve and enhance its beauty. The annual membership fees are small.  Read more here. 


The mention of fees reminds me that subscriptions  are now due for this year for continued membership of the Raynes Park and West Barnes Residents’ Association.  The subscription remains at £3 and we hope that you will continue to think that this is very good value for an organisation that tries to preserve our local environment and has done so since 1928, as well as providing the Guide every month.  Our road stewards will be calling to collect the subs over the next month or so. Please assist them. They are all volunteers, and we thank them very much for their time and service to the community. 


John Elvidge


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