Hospital Campaigners Say Battle is Just Beginning

As NHS confirms planned closure of four local A &E Units

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Save Our Hospitals campaigners have vowed to fight on, following official confirmation from NHS NorthWest London that they intend to close the A &E departments at four local hospitals, including Hammersmith and Charing Cross, which is to be demolished and replaced with a much smaller centre.

Campaigners held a rally in Lyric Square on Saturday, February 16 where speakers condemned Hammersmith and Fulham Council for making a deal with the NHS which will see Charing Cross replaced with a "specialist health and social care hospital" with no A&E services and the number of beds slashed from 500 to 60.

The new hospital will use only a small part of the current site, with the remainder sold off to developers.

It is also understood that H& F Council made no representations to the NHS about the future of Hammersmith Hospital in Shepherd's Bush.

Mark Honigsbaum, spokesperson for the campaign said:
" Now we know the truth. Charing Cross will be closed and replaced by a community care clinic with no A&E, no intensive care unit, and no acute stroke services.

" This is a poor deal that potentially puts residents’ lives at risk. The Council should be ashamed of itself."

Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith and Secretary of the campaign said:"‘This is a sleazy deal between Hammersmith & Fulham Council and local NHS to close both the borough’s A&E departments.

" Imperial Healthcare and Hammersmith & Fulham Council should be ashamed they are supporting closures at Charing Cross and Hammersmith Hospitals. They are putting political and commercial interests above residents’ health.

" There is no extra money promised for Charing Cross and Ealing, only a proposal to look at keeping some non-acute services on the site. These hospitals are closing.

" To add insult to injury, any 'new' money would come from selling the current hospital site for luxury flats."

The campaigners are now intending to join other people to protest at a public meeting being held at Central Hall in Westminster tomorrow, Tuesday February 19 from 9.30am, where the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts will make a decision on the recommendations.

Chair of Save Our Hospitals, Carlo Nero, urged local people to spread the word about their fight and added: " This battle is only just beginning!"

Earlier this month, H & F Council announced that Charing Cross Hospital is to be saved but this brought an angry response from campaigners.

Local feelings about the plans has been running high for months, with two ongoing campaigns against the proposals.

Save Our Hospitals is run by a group of local people along with MP Andy Slaughter. You can find out more about the Save our Hospitals and offers your support at the website  and follow it on twitter, hashtag #Saveourhospitals.

You can read more about Hammersmith and Fulham Council's opposition to the plans on its website at Save Charing Cross Hospital and Save Hammersmith Hospital.

February 18, 2013