Funding for first stage of NW London hospitals reconfiguration refused

Health Service Journal on 1st November :

"NHS Improvement knocks back multi-million pound reconfiguration: NHS Improvement’s board has halted a £500m reconfiguration programme in north west London after concerns about activity projections"

During the private session of NHSI's board meeting on 28th September the application for £513M for the "Strategic Outline Case 1" of NW London's "Shaping a Healthier Future" has been rejected pending further clarification of the projected reductions in "acute activity". SOC1 is the first part of the plans for hospitals "reconfiguration" in NW London. NHSI simply didn't believe the figures for the reduction in A&E and acute activity which senior NHS bosses were putting forward in their business case.

The full article is below. The closure of most of Ealing hospital is included in SOC1. It is now reprieved - for the moment.

We have waited for further news from Health Service Journal or other quarters but so far there is none. We await the publication of the minutes of the board meeting on 17th November.

This is extremely positive news: a "reality check" to the hospitals closures plans. It is a development which "Save Our Hospitals" has been campaigning for over the last 5 years.

If the decision is upheld at a subsequent meeting of NHSI, it would have adverse effects to all other parts of the NW London STP, for example the plan to put out to tender a 10 year contract for Out Of Hospital services in Ealing by April 2018. And in the longer term the formation of the NW London Accountable Care Organisation (or System) and tendering for its management will also be put in doubt. For the most recent news on ACOs see Judicial Reviews challenge legality of Accountable Care Organisations

"The regulator heard the strategic outline case for the Shaping a Healthier Future programme at its most recent board meeting and has now confirmed it has not approved it to go the next stage of development.

The plans include expanding emergency units at West Middlesex University Hospital.

NHSI said it was instead “asking the north west London health economy to provide some further information before our board can properly make a decision on the strategic outline case, in order to carry out our role of assuring that the proposals set out a sound case for capital investment”.

HSJ understands the board had concerns about overoptimistic projections for how much activity the programme would move out of the acute sector.

The £500m would be spent over 10 years and include £69m on improving GP practices; £140m for “modernising and building new out of hospital community hubs”; plus expanding the emergency units at West Middlesex and Hillingdon hospitals while adding more critical care and postsurgical beds to Northwick Park Hospital.

A spokeswoman for the programme said it had been accepted at London level by NHS Improvement and nationally by NHS England.

She said after it was approved by NHS Improvement nationally: “It will go to the Department of Health and the Treasury with the aim of being included in the autumn budget.”

The controversial reconfiguration programme has already drawn criticism from local councils. Ealing Council has opposed the downgrade of the A&E department at Ealing Hospital, which is now part of London North West Healthcare Trust.

Originally part of the same programme, Shaping a Healthier Future has now split the business case process for work in Hammersmith and Fulham and Charing Cross Hospital from the rest of the project. There has been a war of words over Charing Cross Hospital between the local authority and Imperial College Healthcare Trust, which runs the hospital."