Friday, 13 June 2014

Jeremy Hunt fails to clear up confusion over shape of A&E services at Charing Cross and Ealing hospital

But health secretary insists 'the principle you can see a doctor in an emergency' at both hospitals will not change



Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt
 
 

  

                                                                                              



Health secretary Jeremy Hunt today repeated assurances Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals would retain their A&E wards but refused to clear up confusion over exactly what form they would take.
Speaking after his visit to West Middlesex Hospital this morning, he was asked to clear up confusion about exactly what emergency services would remain at the hospitals, which are being downgraded as part of the Shaping a Healthier Future programme.
"They will be full A&Es. Anyone suggesting otherwise is just engaging in political scaremongering because of the elections," he said.
"The shape of services may well change but that's because we know we've halved the number of people dying from strokes by reorganising the way services are delivered.
"The principle that you can get in and see a doctor in an emergency at Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals will not change."
Asked whether they would see patients arriving by ambulance, and which conditions medics would be trained to treat, he declined to comment further, saying he was there to talk about West Middlesex Hospital.
Ealing and Charing Cross are two out of four hospitals in west London, along with Central Middlesex and Hammersmith, being downgraded as part of Shaping a Healthier Future.
NHS chiefs originally said their emergency wards would be replaced by 'urgent care centres', which treat patients with more minor injuries, but Mr Hunt has since assured MPs Charing Cross and Ealing hospitals will both have A&E wards even if they are of a 'different shape or size'.
NHS chiefs have said the changes will improve healthcare by focusing specialist care at a smaller number of hospitals and improving care in the community.
West Mid is being upgraded to a major hospital as part of the programme, meaning it will provide more specialist services. It has been promised extra funding to prepare for an expected increase in attendance at its A&E and maternity departments.

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