From next April most of the familiar parts of the NHS will disappear to be replaced by Andrew Lansley’s new Commissioning Boards. Ostensibly run by local GPs, these will in fact be anonymous bodies spread across London staffed by bureaucrats and supported by privatised services. For instance, the H&F Board will share its management with K&C, Westminster and Hounslow.
But these Boards have already been at work reorganising, in particular, local hospitals. It is they who are proposing the extreme cuts in services, although it is the disappearing Primary Care Trusts that will formally make decisions.
This starts on Monday 25 June when the Joint PCTs from NW London will consider the ‘business case’ for closing four A&E departments among many other cuts. With a complete lack of transparency, the PCTs will rubber-stamp the plans in front of them and put them out for ‘consultation’ between 2 July and 6 October. The results will be presented again to the PCTs – probably their last act – in January. If the preferred option is agreed, the four A&Es will be closed over the next two years, i.e. before the next General Election.
There are two other options. All three see Hammersmith Hospital losing its A&E, two close CXHospital (one raises the possibility of closing Chelsea & Westminster’s A&E instead). For Charing Cross losing the A&E effectively means closure of the entire site, to be replaced in one corner by a walk-in clinic.
So when the Commissioning Boards and their private cheerleaders actually take over in April next year all the dirty work will have been done.
If you want your say in whether this happens, here’s what you can do:
1) Come to the lobby at Westminster Central Hall at 1pm on Monday
The Health trust meets to adopt the proposals and start the consultation process. It doesn’t have to do that – it could decide that the level of public opposition NOW makes a six-month long, costly consultation process unnecessary, and ditch the proposals now.
2) Write to me – SaveHFNHS@andyslaughter.com I will keep you up to date with the facts and make sure the Governement and the NHS Locally know that you object to this attack on Hammersmith’s medical infrastructure.
3) This has happened virtually in secret, so get the news out – TELL everybody! We all care about the NHS.
4) Tweet the news to your followers: let’s get the hashtag #SaveHFNHS trending!