Save Our Hospitals Rebuttal Guide to "Shaping a Healthier Future" consultation

The unelected commissioners behind the ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ consultation say they are keen to canvass public opinion but nowhere in their questionnaire is there a place to register a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the proposed closures of the A&E departments at Hammersmith and Charing Cross hospitals.

Instead, sovaldi the brochure and accompanying questions invites you to choose between three different packages or ‘options’ which the commissioners – drawing on their clinical ‘wisdom’ – believe represent the best deal for patients.

Their ‘preferred’ option – option A – would see the closure of A&Es at four of the nine hospitals serving northwest London – Hammersmith, Charing Cross, Central Middlesex and Ealing – and their replacement with Urgent Care Centres staffed by GPs and nurses and able to treat only a limited number of minor conditions.

Although the commissioners claim that both Hammersmith and Charing Cross would continue to operate as ‘local hospitals’, offering maternity and other specialist services, we believe the A&E closures would fatally erode clinical expertise at those sites, paving the way for the closure of other departments and the sale of valuable hospital buildings. Indeed, this process already appears to be underway at Charing Cross – hence the recent announcement by Imperial NHS Trust that the hospital’s hyper-acute stroke is to migrate to St Mary’s, one of the five preferred hospital sites selected by the commissioners.

What follows is a common list of claims made in the consultation document and other documents issued by NHS North West London (NHS NWL) and our responses to them:

Claim and Response

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Emergency Departments in the UK

A major part of NHS North West London’s case for removing our A&E departments is that we have too many of them. As they have said themselves:

“We have more A&E departments per head of population than other parts of the country and this makes it harder to ensure enough senior staff are available. (Pre-Consultation Business Case Vol 1, thumb p51)”

“NW London has more A&E departments per head of population than other parts of the country and this makes it harder to ensure enough senior staff are available to provide adequate cover. (Pre-Consultation Business Case Vol 2, p91)”

However, this is not true.


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Mark Spencer Interview with Ealing Gazette

Mark Spencer is the Medical Director of NHS NW London - here  the Ealing Campaign chair counters the information he gave to the Ealing Gazette earlier this summer:

1.Ealing Gazette (EG): If this is such a good idea why do so many GPs seem to be against it?

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Shaping an uncertain future

By Mark Honigsbaum, try lecturer in Medical History at Zurich University and Shepherds Bush Resident.

For all that people moan about hospital waiting times and the quality of medical care available under the NHS we forget that the Britain’s health service is unique. Indeed, look no other country in the world can boast that it makes such a wide array of medical services freely available to all its citizens at the point of need.

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