The inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) into our local hospitals was widely reported this week.
Some of its finding were shocking, highlighting ‘poor standards of cleanliness’, too few nurses, significant backlogs of patients awaiting surgery, and constantly changing management.
All three main hospitals – Charing Cross, Hammersmith and St Mary’s, Paddington – run by Imperial NHS Trust were classed as ‘requiring improvement’.
Concerns at St Mary’s and Charing Cross include patients left without food and fluids. Charing Cross alone has a backlog of 3,500 patients awaiting surgery with no clear plan on how to deal with this.
The latest figures for A&E also make grim reading – only 75% of patients are being seen within four hours at present against a target of 95%, making Imperial eighth from bottom of all Trusts in England.
The Government has an answer to this – they are going to stop publishing the figures over the busy Christmas period.
And the London Ambulance Service is experiencing pressures it has not seen except after 7/7 and during the Olympics.
But amid the gloom the CQC found some positives – it rated the A&E at Charing Cross as ‘good’ despite the pressures (St Mary’s it found ‘inadequate’) and especially commended the hyper-acute stoke unit there.
All of which makes the Government’s continued intention to demolish Charing Cross, replace the A&E with an ‘emergency centre’ staffed by GPs and nurses and lose the stroke unit and all but 24 of the 360 inpatient beds beyond comprehension.
The Chief Executive of Imperial failed to mention in her response to the CQC that the A&E she wants to close is ‘good’ and the one she wants to keep ‘inadequate’. Meanwhile we found out the names of her 22 colleagues who have just returned from spending £120,000 of NHS money on a trip to the US.
Even the CQC report does not give the full picture as their inspection took place the week before the closure of Hammersmith and Central Middlesex Hospital A&Es in September.
Clearly Imperial has a lot to do establish a safe and effective clinical practice. But every major hospital in west London is under huge pressure. All five that have been inspected since August have failed their inspections.
Against this background it would be madness to press ahead with the closure of Charing Cross and Ealing A&Es.
Today, I raised these issues with Jeremy Hunt in the House of Commons, as I do almost every week and with the seven other west London Labour MPs I have written to him with the evidence of how his policies are destroying our NHS. He refuses even to meet us, even though we represent around one million Londoners.
We will keep trying to influence the Coalition Government, but it is increasingly clear that the future of the NHS will be decided at the general Election in May.
Don’t trust Boris with the Scrubs
I welcome the regeneration of Old Oak on the back of HS2 and Crossrail coming to the borough, but it must be done in the interests of local residents, not developers and foreign investors. Luxury housing for absentee owners should not be the norm, and redevelopment must be for the many, rather than just to generate profits for overseas sovereign wealth funds.
Affordable housing, jobs for local people and protection of the environment should be at the forefront of plans as I wrote in City AM.
Yesterday, the London Assembly considered Boris Johnson’s plans for a Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC) to take over not only regeneration but planning powers for the area. The MDC Board is stuffed with Boris’ mates and vested interests that will want to build his ‘mini-Manhattan’ – skyscrapers looming over Wormwood Scrubs for sale in the far east with no housing affordable to people on ordinary wages.
And there is a real threat to the Scrubs itself which will serve as a park for the developers – and save them the cost of installing their own open space. Despite the opposition of 90% of those who responded to the consultation on the MDC, H&F Council and Save our Scrubs, Boris has included the Scrubs in the development area.
The Labour Group on the London Assembly, which scrutinises the Mayor passed a motion setting out their – and our – objections. This is a 20 year project and this is only the first round in the struggle for sustainable development in Old Oak, but it is clear we have fight on our hands while Boris remains Mayor.
The last week before Christmas is always busy and this year included:
Voting for equal pay. A Labour Bill would make big companies publish figures to show what men and women get paid, to show the gender pay gap. Sensible and not controversial you might have thought but the two Coalition parties wouldn’t support it.
I joined west London MPs John McDonnell and Zac Goldsmith for a debate on the future of Kew Gardens, which has lost many of its expert staff this year owing to Government cuts.
Politics students from Sacred Heart & William Morris made a joint visit to Parliament this week. I gave them a tour of Westminster and was joined for a Q&A by my Shadow Justice colleagues Dan Jarvis MP & Jenny Chapman MP. If your school would like to visit Parliament then please contact my office at the email provided.
Labour forced votes on two controversial topics, the Bedroom Tax and Food Banks. I managed to get in on both despite the number of Labour MPs trying to speak. The Government’s majority fell to 32, but sadly the Lib Dems voted for the Bedroom Tax despite saying that they now oppose this hated policy, which they helped introduce. A double u-turn.
In the constituency
Phoenix pupils skate for charity. I joined year 7 students from Phoenix High School at the skating ring in Westfield. They were skating in Christmas jumpers to raise money as part of Save the Children's Christmas Jumper Day.
London Chess Classic. I went to the London Chess Classic at Olympia. Competing this year were several Hammersmith schools including Burlington Danes, St Mary's, Melcombe and Ark Swift.
London Air Ambulance. Last week I visited the London Air Ambulance to learn more about this excellent service. This year the service is celebrating its 25th Anniversary. They are trying to raise funds for a new helicopter so the service can be expanded. £1 million extra will be needed annually to fund the extra costs on top on the £4 million they currently raise. Why not donate to their organisation this Christmas?
Brackenbury Christmas. Brackenbury Residents were out in force to enjoy the festive market put on by local shops. It was an excellent evening with mulled wine, mince pies and even outdoor opera singing.
Meeting the Somali community. Shepherds Bush has a big Somali population and on Thursday I met a group of residents who have set up a volunteer advice and support network. I answered questions, spoke about the local and national issues - and of course was well fed and watered.
Shepherds Bush Market. I visited the Market to talk to traders and shopkeepers about their future. Despite the support of the new Labour Council, the policy of their predecessors and now the Government to flog this fantastic and treasured local asset to the highest bidder makes the Market’s future uncertain.
Shepherds Bush Tube. The Central Line Station will be one of the first in London to lose its ticket office next February, as part of Boris Johnson’s broken promise on station staffing. All ticket offices will close next year, but Shepherds Bush is one of the busiest. The space will be used for another metro supermarket. I met London Underground to express my concerns and would like to hear from you if you share them.