Latest news about redeveloping the Wilson Hospital

This newsletter is from the South West London Alliance

Welcome to the latest newsletter about the redevelopment of the Wilson Hospital site into a new health and wellbeing campus.  If you live in or near Mitcham and are interested in getting involved in developing the new facility, this newsletter is for you.  It is also for key partners involved in the plans to develop the facility.  The newsletter will provide updates on the design, planning and build of the new facility as well as give details of how the local community can get involved.

Redeveloping the Wilson Hospital is a joint programme of work between NHS Merton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Merton Council, Merton Voluntary Services Council, NHS Property Services and Community Health Partnerships, South London Health Partnership and East Merton residents.


Programme funding

We are pleased to inform you that discussions to secure funding to build the campus are progressing well and we will aim to make a positive announcement as soon as we can.

You may recall from the last newsletter that the CCG is in discussions with the site’s developers over a national issue related to the risk of an interest rate rise.  All partners remain fully committed to the programme – and we’re clear we don’t have to wait for a new building to make changes. That’s why we’re developing new wellbeing services so people will be able to access them in other places in the area before the building is complete.  There is more information on how this work is progressing below.

We still anticipate the new facilities will open on the Wilson site by the end of 2022.

Wellbeing services to be available in advance of the campus opening

The Wilson project is focused on delivering care in a different way for local residents.  We know people in the East of Merton, in areas like Mitcham and Morden, are often less well-off and prone to dying younger than those in the West of the borough, in places like Wimbledon.

People’s health can be affected by more than just how they’re feeling physically – other things like whether they have money troubles or if they live alone have a huge impact.  That’s why we’re focusing on creating a new health and wellbeing campus at the Wilson - not just a building where people go to when they’re ill, but somewhere to help the community connect and stay healthy.  We’ve been doing a lot of work to develop what the range of wellbeing services and activities will look like following engagement with local residents and organisations.  We are planning for the new site to have a community café and kitchen, garden and a social prescribing service which is already available at GP practices in East Merton.  This is in addition to providing space and opportunities for residents to meet and access information, advice and support from organisations when they need help.  

We want the community to take the lead on making decisions about which services and activities would help people, as well making sure we make the best use of all available resources and avoid any potential for duplication. We considered setting up a Social Enterprise to make this happen.  However, we’ve listened to feedback that it could create competition for funding for local voluntary services and so are not taking this route at the moment.

As an alternative a Wellbeing Steering Group is being set up, made up of representatives from the community who will lead the process going forward. This Group will be responsible for developing an interim Wilson wellbeing activity plan to make use of the resources already available locally as well as ahead of the new development.  

As a first step, conversations are beginning to see how it might be possible to start a community gardening/growing project on the Wilson site. We’re also looking at whether the current Wilson building and space might be made available for use by community organisations for activities ahead of the building work starting.  Developing Wilson wellbeing activities as a collaboration between the community and Canons Leisure Centre is also being investigated.  Any services and activities developed now are those that the community sees as priority.

Future health services at the Wilson confirmed

There have been various discussions about which health services will be available at the new facility on the Wilson site – we can confirm the following will be available:

  • X-ray facilities and other diagnostic services like ultrasound
  • A GP hub offering 8am-8pm services available seven-days-a week
  • Pharmacy
  • Mental health services for adults and children and young people
  • Physiotherapy
  • Specialist clinics.

Community engagement

We are committed to ensuring local people are involved in all stages of the development of the Wilson health and wellbeing campus. In response to this commitment we have set up the Wilson Community Reference Group (WCRG).   This group will provide regular updates to the Wilson Programme Board, with a focus on shaping communications and engagement plans for future phases of work.  They are also advising on communications and engagement activity undertaken through the work of the wellbeing work stream in agreeing ways to select activities and priorities.
Membership of the group includes a broad range of patients and community and voluntary groups.  Members represent, for example, different races and religions, people with disabilities, mental health service users, children and young people, elderly people, carers, housing associations, deprived communities and local businesses.  The group has met twice since it was set up in November 2018.
Members have been involved in developing our engagement plan and research to develop our initial Equalities Impact Assessment. This is helping us to ensure we are clear of the impacts on different groups due to the development of the Wilson health and wellbeing campus.
The meetings have also been helpful in understanding perceptions in the community about future wellbeing services so any misunderstandings can be clarified.  For example, we heard at the meeting this month that some community organisations expected to be able to secure permanent office space in the building, which will not be possible.  Organisations will have access to space to meet and interact with local residents.

For more information about the Wilson Community Reference Group, and how to get involved, you can read summary minutes on our website.