UK

Parents lead campaign to stop child cancer services leaving Royal Marsden site

The proposed move comes following concerns that the Royal Marsden does not have a children’s intensive care unit (Yui Mok/PA)
The proposed move comes following concerns that the Royal Marsden does not have a children’s intensive care unit (Yui Mok/PA) The proposed move comes following concerns that the Royal Marsden does not have a children’s intensive care unit (Yui Mok/PA)

Parents are leading a campaign to prevent child cancer services from being moved from Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton, south London.

The proposed move comes following concerns that the Royal Marsden, which serves patients from south London, Surrey, Sussex, Kent and Medway, does not have a children’s intensive care unit.

However, parents say that alternative sites, such as St George’s Hospital in Tooting, and Evelina Children’s Hospital in Lambeth, would increase journey times for most patients.

Forming a campaign group called HearTheMarsdenKids, the parents say that around 63.6% of patients do not live in south-east or south-west London, and so would have to deal with worse travel logistics if the move goes ahead.

Royal Marsden hospital appeal
Royal Marsden hospital appeal The Oaks Centre for Children and Young People at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton (Steve Parsons/PA)

Both proposed hospitals have limited parking, parents say, and Evelina London is within the congestion charge zone – potentially leading to increased costs as only one family member can be reimbursed for travel.

They also say there is no guarantee that the new service would improve or even equal the current “world-leading” programmes in place at the Royal Marsden.

Indeed, they argue that the Royal Marsden’s proximity to the Institute of Cancer Research helps researchers turn discoveries made by scientists into new treatments for patients.

A petition to oppose the move has already received more than 8,000 signatures on Change.org, with parents calling on more members of the public to sign it.

The public consultation on the issue is due to end on December 18, with the proposals set to come into force in 2026.

Royal Marsden Hospital has been contacted for comment.