Plans for the mass closure of A&E units across north-west London are being attacked by Greg Hands M.P. and Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
The proposals, which have just surfaced and are due to be consulted at the end of the month, could see north-west London NHS bureaucrats close four of nine A&E units in a top-down reorganisation of hospital services.
The consultation will look at a substantial downgrade of Central Middlesex which would lose its A&E unit. While ‘straight choices’ will be made between Hammersmith or St Mary’s, Ealing or West Middlesex, and Chelsea and Westminster or Charing Cross.
Under these plans west London residents in Ealing, Hounslow and Hammersmith are likely not have any A&E services based locally. Currently, Hammersmith & Fulham has two hospitals with 24/7 A&E units (Hammersmith and Charing Cross) – both of which are likely to close.
Charing Cross has been one of the busiest A&Es in west London. Combined A&E attendances at Hammersmith Hospital and Charing Cross are up to 100,000 a year with 20,000 emergency admissions.
Greg Hands M.P. said, "These crass proposals will pit Charing Cross against Chelsea & Westminster. With a growing population in this part of London, and heavily congested roads, we need Accident & Emergency at both hospitals. We need to stop these bureaucrats in the North West London health authority from wielding the knife, at a time when the Government is increasing spending on the NHS. I can see no real need for this change."
Councillor Greenhalgh said, “The piecemeal dismantling of hospital services is set to continue across west London without a long-term vision and site strategy for specialist services being in place. For years I have warned that Charing Cross Hospital was being downgraded and facing closure by stealth.
“Removing all A&E services in my borough makes no sense when Hammersmith & Fulham is set for dramatic growth in its three “Opportunity Areas” at Earls Court, White City and Park Royal.”
*Total A&E attendances in 2006/7 were 69,325 for Charing Cross and 30,795 for Hammersmith.