ISSUE: Chiswick Lodge Hospital
Hammersmith Council Proposes to Close Hospital in Chiswick
Article by Lynette Dobbin
People in Chiswick should be aware of the plans by Hammersmith Council to close Chiswick Lodge Hospital.
This institution performs an invaluable local service and belongs to the people of Chiswick under the terms of a bequest.
The original hospital was built on this site on Netheravon Road South in 1911 by Dan Mason, who was I believe the founder of the Cherry Blossom shoe polish business. He gave it "in perpetuity" - that is to say for ever - to the people of Chiswick.
Over the years its use has changed from a general cottage hospital to a maternity hospital to accommodation for hospital staff but it is now, and has been for some years, home to over 30 elderly mentally ill patients suffering from diseases such as Alzheimers and ten or more younger people with incurable neuro-psychiatric conditions like Motor Neurone disease. Also around sixty old people per week attend it on a "day hospital" basis providing welcome respite for their regular carers.
If you've ever been to one of those huge, faceless institutions where old people often end their days you will know they can be very distressing for all concerned - both patients and relatives. I've had a relative in the care of the elderly unit at Charing Cross hospital and frankly all I could think about was getting her out of there. Chiswick Lodge isn't like that at all - it's small and friendly and provides an exceptional level of care for both residents and their families.
For reasons that seem to have more to do with NHS politics than common sense, the hospital which is based firmly in Chiswick - and let's not forget, was given to the people of Chiswick by its founder - is run by Hammersmith. They've said that because it is not in the Borough they want to close it down and re-locate the residents. One of the proposals is to re-locate them to Acton which isn't in their Borough either!!
The current proposal to close the hospital and doubtless to flog the site off to the highest bidder - would at the very least mean moving these very vulnerable patients to somewhere much larger and more impersonal.
The Save Chiswick Lodge Action Group are resolved to fight this proposed closure. They are appealing for local people to come forward and help in whatever way they can - by writing to MPs, or at the very least by pledging their support to the campaign.
They are interested to hear from anyone born in the hospital, or otherwise associated with it, over its long and distinguished history as part of Chiswick life.