- Created: Monday, 18 March 2013 15:59
viagra Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; font-weight: bold; line-height: 1.3em;">Campaign wins review of hospital closure decision
Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt today agreed to refer last week’s decision to close the A&E departments at Hammersmith, Charing Cross, Central Middlesex and Ealing Hospitals for independent review.
The unexpected but welcome announcement came at Health Questions in the House of Commons. Mr Hunt was responding to a question from Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith and Secretary of the Save our Hospitals Campaign:
Mr Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith) (Lab):
‘Last week’s decision to close four north-west London A& Es, including Charing Cross and Hammersmith in my constituency, will shortly be on the Secretary of State’s desk, as he predicts. It was referred by Labour Ealing council because Tory Hammersmith and Fulham council supports the closures. Will the Secretary of State refer the matter for independent review? This is the biggest hospital closure programme in the history of the NHS. It will see a world-class hospital downgraded to 3% of its size.’
Mr Jeremy Hunt:
‘I am aware how concerned people are throughout north-west London about the proposals. If the matter is referred to me by Ealing council, I will indeed ask the independent reconfiguration panel for its independent view on the proposals.’
Charing Cross Hospital will be demolished and most of the site sold for private development. NHS use of the site will be 3% of current levels. All 500 beds at Charing Cross will go and all acute services will be lost.
Hammersmith Hospital will remain a specialist hospital but with no A&E.
After the A&E closures there will only be an ‘urgent care centre’ (UCC) remaining at each of the four hospitals. UCCs are described in the papers for today’s meeting as ‘staffed by at least one GP at all times’ and ‘able to treat minor injuries (including minor fractures) in addition to minor illnesses’
Hammersmith and Fulham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is considering also closing the UCC at Hammersmith Hospital and moving it to elsewhere.
A late recommendation suggests Hammersmith & Fulham CCG could look at retaining some community and treatment services on the Charing Cross site. This is subject to a further six-month review, would lead to a maximum 13% use of the site compared to current activity and would include no acute services.
All blue light emergencies would be diverted to other hospitals, which are already at capacity and exceed waiting time targets for A&E.
There will be no A&E in the London boroughs of Hammersmith, Ealing or Brent, which together have a population the size of Leeds.
Following today’s decision Ealing Council intends to refer the closures to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, for review by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel. They also intend to launch judicial review proceedings. Hammersmith & Fulham Council has betrayed its residents by withdrawing support for the hospitals and falsely claiming that Charing Cross Hospital has been ‘saved’.