23rd June 2012
GOVERNMENT TO CLOSE BOTH LOCAL ACCIDENT & EMERGENCY UNITS
Hammersmith and Charing Cross A&Es to close in Government Plans
Effect on Charing Cross will mean closure of hospital
Government NHS cuts and reorganisation will mean that Accident & Emergency departments at Hammersmith Hospital and Charing Cross will close, leaving the borough with no A&E department.
This shocking announcement was slipped out on Thursday evening ahead of a meeting of NHS North West London next Monday. Ealing and Central Middlesex A&Es are also set to close despite promises by David Cameron and Andrew Lansley as recently as last year that they were safe.
Firstly, this is a risk to the life and health of everyone who lives in Hammersmith & Fulham. Travel times to the nearest alternatives in Westminster and Chelsea are unpredictable and in heavy traffic can mean half hour or hour delays. Even ambulances will find the journeys difficult.
But it also means the end of the line for both hospitals as cutting edge clinical centres. A&E departments require a wide range of clinical expertise to be available 24/7. With no A&E the whole hospital is downgraded. For Charing Cross this means efficetive closure. Over time Charing Cross will become a glorified health centre, something Conservative Governments have planned for decades. Hammersmith will remain a research centre with private investment by pharmaceutical companies, but will no longer provide immediate care for local residents.
Detailed reading of the Government’s proposals for our hospitals show that there will be no beds or inpatients at Chating if their preferred option goes ahead. If the A&E closes all the associated specialisms will move to other hospitals and only a walk-in clinic will remain on the site. Of the current 500 beds, 100 will close, 200 will move with A&E to Chelsea and Westminster, and 200 to other hospitals. The majority of the Fulham Palace road site can then be disposed of commercially, no doubt for development as high-rise luxury flats as is proposed for West Kensington and White City.
In my view, this is totally unacceptable, and must be stopped. Whenever the Tories are in government, the NHS is at risk – now under this Coalition we find not one but both local hospitals threatened.
“The last major threat to our local health service was in the early 1990s. Then the whole community came together and fought a successful campaign to save Charing Cross from closure. Now we must do the same to save the A&E departments at both Charing Cross and Hammersmith.”
What you can do now:
- Attend the Joint Committee of PCTs meeting which opens consultation on the closures 2.30pm Monday 25th June
- Join me and opponents of other West London hospital closures at the demonstration outside Westminster Central Hall (Westminster or St James Tube) on Monday at 1pm
- Attend the local public meeting at the 6-7pm on Thursday 28 June to organise outr local campaign against closures. Venue to be announced
- Email SaveHFNHS@andyslaughter.com to let me know your view on the closures and whether you can attend the demonstration and meetings.
- Tell us your views on Twitter using #SaveHFNHS
- Read about the full implications for our local hospitals on my website
Keep up with developments at www.andyslaughter.com