"We Will Fight On to Save West London Hospitals"

Hammersmith MP joins campaigners in responding to Jeremy Hunt's announcement

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Save Our Hospital campaigners have responded to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt's announcement on the future of local NHS services by vowing to continue their fight.

The Save Our Hospitals team say: " Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt today accepted ‘in full’ proposals to centralise A&E services at five rather than nine hospitals in west London. This means:

  • A&E departments at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex Hospitals, serving some of London most deprived communities will close ‘as soon as practicable’
  • A&Es at Charing Cross and Ealing Hospitals will offer ‘a different size or shape’ of service.  This inevitably means a downgraded A&E.  As it will not be ‘a 24 hour consultant-led service with full resuscitation facilities and designated accommodation’ (Type 1)  the remaining A&Es will be minor injury units (MIU) or walk-in centres (Type 3).
  • No information on the remaining services at Charing Cross, including 500 acute beds, the best stroke unit in the country and other services associated with one of London’s major teaching hospitals.
  • Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith and Secretary of the Save Our Hospitals campaign challenged Mr Hunt in the House of Commons to explain what services would be left on the Charing Cross site, but he was unable to do so. 

The fight continues ... "

Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter described the Health Secretary's announcement as "spin" and said: " Pressure from the Save Our Hospitals campaign and the tens of thousands of local residents who protested at the closures has won a concession.

" The local NHS and the Conservatives in Hammersmith & Fulham were happy with a GP-run ‘urgent care centre’ at Charing Cross, now we are told there will be an A&E there and in Ealing.

" ‘But I don’t trust the Tories to deliver on this. The promised A&E may turn out to be just a minor injuries unit. And the rest of the terrible cuts in our local hospitals are going ahead.

" There will be no A&E at Hammersmith Hospital in one of the most deprived areas of London and there are no promises to keep the beds and services at Charing Cross open. We will continue to fight these closures until we have a council and a government that will listen to local people and keep our excellent hospitals open."

In his announcement made yesterday in the House of Commons, the Health Secretary confirmed that A & E departments at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex Hospitals will close. A&Es at Ealing and Charing Cross Hospitals will remain but "in a different shape or size".

He did not give any further details about what this means. However, Hammersmith and Fulham Council immediately issued a statement welcoming " Government backing for Charing Cross Hospital to become a world-class elective surgery centre."

The timetable for the opening of this elective, or non-emergency surgery centre is 2017, according to H & F.

A press release from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel caused further confusion, appearing to show continued doubt about Charing Cross' future, saying:" The IRP also states that the future of the proposed local hospitals at Ealing and Charing Cross, and the final decision about what might best be provided from each location as part of Shaping a Healthier Future must be the subject of a specific programme of work led by local commissioners and engaging the public, service users, staff and the relevant local authority.

" The A&E departments at Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals must be sustained until further work to inform a final decision on the future of these two local hospitals has been completed and the alternative services that will provide a safe, high quality urgent emergency care system for local residents are in place."

The Secretary of State's announcement did not mention plans to knock down the current hospital, with the removal of 500 beds, replacing it with a much smaller centre and selling off the remainder of the site to property developers.

Ealing Council Leader Julian Bell, who has campaigned against the proposals, called Mr Hunt's announcement "weasel words" and Ealing and said on his Twitter feed @juliangbell: " I will believe Ealing and Charing Cross A&Es are saved if Jeremy Hunt defines "different size & shape" & that blue light journeys r accepted".

Last night, Save Our Hospitals campaigners held rallies outside Ealing and Charing Cross Hospitals and say more protests are planned.


October 31, 2013