Independent Commission Begins Reviewing Hospital Services

As figures show hospitals struggling to meet A&E waiting time targets

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An independent commision has begun a review into local hospital services, as figures show A&E departments are still struggling to meet A&E waiting time targets.

Official NHS figures show the trusts that run St Mary's, Charing Cross, West Middlesex, Ealing and Northwick Park hospitals have all failed to meet the A&E waiting time target - to treat 95% of patients within four hours - in the past three months.

London North West Healthcare NHS Trust which runs Ealing and Northwick Park Hospitals recorded the worst result in the country in the week before Christmas at 53.7% for emergency units treating the most seriously ill patients.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs St Mary’s, Hammersmith and Charing Cross hospitals, also fared badly with 70.2%. West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust was not much better at 75.5%.

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital was the only one which achieved the target with figures consistently around 95%.

Hammersmith & Fulham, Ealing, Hounslow and Brent councils set up the independent commission following the closures of Hammersmith and Central Middlesex Hospitals in September and because of NHS plans to downgrade the emergency unit at Charing Cross Hospital.

The independent commission is chaired by leading barrister Michael Mansfield QC and set up by four local councils in North West London who have been deeply concerned by deteriorating local hospital services. The commission started work this week and oral evidence hearings are planned to start next month.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council Leader Stephen Cowan says: "These latest figures underline once again the importance of this review.

" The independent review, which is free of vested interests, is vital to assess what local trusts are doing to help ensure a safe and sustainable future for our hospital services.

" I encourage everyone to have their say at the forthcoming public meetings. The deteriorating state of local A&E services is evidence of just how important this review is for West London."

In 2013 Michael Mansfield QC chaired the Lewisham People's Commission, an inquiry into the proposals to close services at Lewisham Hospital. He has represented defendants in criminal trials, appeals and inquiries in some of the most controversial legal cases in the country.

He represented the family of Jean Charles de Menezes and the families of victims at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry. He chaired an inquiry into the shoot to kill policy in Northern Ireland and has represented many families at inquests, including the Marchioness disaster and the Lockerbie bombing. He also represents the family of Stephen Lawrence.

He will be joined on the commission by Dr Stephen Hirst, a retired GP from Chiswick with extensive local knowledge and John Lister, researcher on the People's Inquiry into London's NHS in 2012 and Senior Lecturer in Journalism at Coventry University.

Written evidence on the impact of the changes should be submitted by Monday 2 February 2015 to Peter Smith, Clerk to the Commission, at Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

Submissions should be addressed to him at Room 39, Hammersmith Town Hall, London W6 9JU or sent by email to

Later submissions will be forwarded to the Commission but may not be given the same attention as those received by the deadline.

January 15, 2015