Chiswick Councillors Call For Fight To Save Local Hospitals

Conservatives say move to close Charing Cross A&E is seriously flawed


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Local councillors have called for people in Chiswick to "make sure their voices are heard" before the consultation ends on closing Accident & Emergency units at Hammersmith and Charing Cross hospitals.

Councillor Peter Thompson, leader of the Conservatives on Hounslow Council, claimed that NHS North London "basically rigged" the consultation to favour predetermined outcomes. And he also criticised Hounslow Council's decision to back closing the A & E units and said closure would leave large numbers of local people dangerously far away from emergency care.

“The decision to close the Accident & Emergency units at Hammersmith and Charing Cross hospitals, as well as the hyper acute stroke unit at Charing Cross, is seriously flawed.  Closing the A&E could leave large numbers of residents dangerously far away from emergency care and  the further downgrading of Charing Cross makes total closure more likely. The 300,000 people who go to the A&Es that are closing will put added pressure on remaining services.  Indeed with thousands of news homes and jobs coming to west London, we need more local capacity, not less.”

However, his comments provoked an angry response from Hounslow Council's Cllr. Gurmail Lal, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, who said it was a Tory government who was forcing through the closures.

“Cllr. Thompson appears to be extremely disingenuous. Hounslow Council has duly responded to the consultation document by supporting Option A (the retention of A & E Services at West Middlesex Hospital) in order to provide the best possible service to the majority of residents in our Borough.

"On the wider issue of the impact re-configuration will have on North West London, as it is Cllr. Thompson’s Government who are forcing through these closures, he would do better to lobby the Secretary of State for Health to retain services, rather than whine about it. It is another typical example of this disaster prone, incompetent Tory led Coalition, where Councillors at a local level don’t appear to have any influence".

In the full text of his statement commenting on Hounslow Council’s decision to back the option which supports the closure of these A&Es Cllr Thompson said; “Hounslow Council have made a serious error of judgement in calling for residents to back the so-called Option A without making clear that this would result Hammersmith and Charing Cross hospitals being dramatically downgraded."

“An independent report, from respected former NHS Chief Executive Tim Rideout, has called the NHS consultation ‘flawed’ and unsafe. Part of Mr Rideout’s criticism focused on the funnel effect of the NHS’ chosen methodology in knocking out viable alternatives before they had a chance to be fairly compared.  Moreover the way the consultation is put together manipulates people into giving views that they do not necessarily hold. “

“NHS North West London has failed to adequately consult on this issue. They have basically rigged the consultation to favour predetermined outcomes with little or no evidence to back up their assertions. As a result, their so-called preferred option of downgrading Charing Cross and Hammersmith Hospitals is fatally flawed. Instead of exposing this sham Hounslow Council have let us all down with their support of the consultation process.”

The consultation, ' Shaping A Healthier Future' ends on October 8th. A cabinet meeting of Hounslow Council voted last September 4th to support the case for change proposed in the configuation of hospitals in North West London. The option would see West Middlesex University Hospital as a major hospital and Charing Cross Hospital as a local hospital.

Councillor Thompson said that he and his party would like assurances from the NHS that West Middlesex Hospital would be able to cope with increased numbers of patients using its A&E, maternity and other services.

Residents in Ealing have already held public meetings to criticise NHS plans to decimate healthcare services at Ealing Hospital and in the north west London region.


October 2, 2012

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