The publication of the "Business Case" in the application by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust for Foundation status has been delayed for the second time to 30th July 2014 at the earliest.
This means that the final decision on the future of Charing Cross, Hammersmith and St Mary’s Hospitals – the three major hospitals run by Imperial Healthcare Trust – which was due to be made next Wednesday 28th May has been further postponed until the end of July or later. The announcement on the future of the two hospitals in Hammersmith and Fulham has now been delayed for almost a year.
The reason is not a re-think about the closure of both A&Es and demolition of Charing Cross but another financial crisis.
There have been major changes to the management at Imperial recently: a new Chief Executive and an acting Medical Director after the resignation of Professor Nick Cheshire in April 2014. The money is simply not there to fund ‘integrated care’ and the switch from acute to primary care services. The promise to improve GP and other community services before any cuts are made to accident and emergency cannot at present be met. The Health Service Journal, for senior NHS managers, covers the issues at national level in "How the government is screwing up its best idea" dated 21st May.
But there is no sign yet of a reprieve for the emergency services already marked for closure. Imperial and the local NHS – and of course the Coalition Government - are continuing to support the closure of Hammersmith’s A&E this year and the demolition of Charing Cross with the loss of all consultant emergency services. SOH are hopeful that the incoming Labour administration in Hammersmith Council will use their new powers to support our arguments.