Residents across Fulham, Chelsea and Hammersmith are being urged to make their views known on NHS proposals to close Accident & Emergency services at Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals, with a further option of closing A&E at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital.
Plans to close four Accident & Emergency (A&E) units in North West London moved a step closer this week (June 25) as the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts agreed to formally propose closing four of the nine A&E centres in the area.
The NHS proposals include downgrading Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals from ‘major’ centres, with a wide range of clinical specialisms, to ‘local’ hospitals. Charing Cross and Hammersmith would both lose their A&Es under the NHS preferred option and the hyper-acute stroke unit at Charing Cross would also go. The NHS consultation begins next month. One option in the consultation is for Chelsea & Westminster to lose its A&E instead of Charing Cross.
Greg Hands M.P. told the Fulham Chronicle and the Kensington & Chelsea Informer: “I have been warning since 2005 that NHS bureaucrats have been downgrading services at Charing Cross, and now their renewed proposal to end A&E services comes as a hammer blow to Hammersmith & Fulham residents.
“This is also bad news for Kensington and Chelsea residents, as it is not clear that Chelsea & Westminster hospital will have the capacity to take up to an extra 100,000 A&E admissions each year. This would mean one extra A&E admission from the Borough of Hammersmith& Fulham every 5 minutes at the Chelsea & Westminster hospital.
“I will fight this very hard. It is clear to me that A&E services at both Charing Cross and Chelsea & Westminster can, and must, survive”
Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council has vowed to fight the plans ‘tooth and nail’ and Cllr Marcus Ginn, H&F Cabinet Member for Community Services, has called on the community to unite against the threat.
Cllr Ginn says: “Once again the residents of H&F are facing a huge threat to local hospital services. We are faced with losing not just one A&E, but both our A&Es at Hammersmith and Charing Cross. The NHS bureaucrats who are about to launch a consultation on these proposals have failed to realise the devastating impact this would have on journey times in what is the second most congested borough in London.
“They have also failed to take into account the thousands of new homes that are being built in west London - we need more access to hospitals, not less.
“If these proposals go ahead we will lose decades of clinical expertise and skills built up at Charing Cross. H&F Council will not stand idly by and allow this to happen.
“Yet, if we are to be successful, we need to be united. Therefore I am calling on everybody and anybody who has an interest in retaining frontline hospital services in H&F to join the council in a single campaign to protect local hospital services at Charing Cross and Hammersmith. The bigger our voice the more likely we are to be heard. The community has fought off similar proposals before and we will do so again.”
Dozens of people turned up to a protest outside Charing Cross hospital this week and thousands have already signed one of the two council petitions against the closure plans.
Click here to sign H&F Council’s petition to save Charing Cross Hospital.