One month ago Hammersmith and Central Middlesex A&E departments closed,
on the instructions of the Coalition Government. Already performance levels for A&Es has fallen off a cliff in west London.
It is now the worst performing part of the NHS. In some weeks Imperial NHS Trust which runs Charing Cross and St Mary’s Paddington is seeing barely more than 80% of patients within four hours against an expected 95%. Northwick Park, which is in a state of meltdown according to clinicians there, has fallen as low as 66%.
news/health/ waiting-times-at-ae-at-west -london-hospitals-hit-a-re cord-after-closures-985053 1.html
But Chelsea & Westminster, Ealing and West Middlesex are also all struggling to cope.
The only surprise here is that that the Government seem surprised! They certainly do not know how to cope as winter approaches. Today the advice from the Medical Director was – don’t go to A&E, visit the chemist!
www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ article-2833886/ Stay-casualty-chemist-NHS-b oss-warns-crisis-E-winter. html
This is, of course, exactly what was predicted by the Save our Hospitals campaign, but perhaps even they thought the crash would take months rather than just four weeks.
There is concern about waiting times but also concern about standards, as the Care Quality Commission Report into Chelsea & Westminster showed last month.
So where do we go now? The Tory-led Government and Imperial have to admit that their programme of hospital closures for west London – the biggest in NHS history - will not work. The demolition of Charing Cross and loss of emergency services and 90% of inpatient beds should not go ahead.
We need an independent report into the capacity of North West London NHS. And we need proper public consultation, so that the voices of the people who use and pay for our NHS are finally listened to.
Save our Hospitals have started a new petition, asking that there is a moratorium on closures and hospital reorganisation in West London until proper evidence is provided to support reorganisation, and the public is properly consulted on any changes. I urge you to sign it.
My experience of the past two and a half years since the closures were announced persuades me that ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ is not about modernising the NHS or making it more efficient, but is simply a way to cut funding and prepare the NHS for privatisation.
So I will be sponsoring my colleague Clive Efford’s Bill to reverse the Government’s privatisation agenda in the Commons next Friday. You can sign the petition to support Clive’s Bill here.
Saying thank you to a wonderful doctor
With all the bad news about the NHS, it was great to be reminded about why we are so passionate to protect it.
Last week we said goodbye to Dr Deirdre Gallagher who is retiring from Park Medical Centre in Goldhawk Road after 20 years as a local GP – and my GP.
Deirdre is a legend in the local NHS, but I don’t think even she expected the response from her patients of all ages and backgrounds. Hundreds queued for up to three hours to say their goodbyes and thank her for the excellent care she has provided during her years in the Borough.
It was an incredibly moving evening and reminded everyone there why we are prepared to fight to save the NHS which continues to define the fair and compassionate society that we built after the second world war.
Andy Slaughter MP for Hammersmith