Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Save Our Hospitals Press Release: 16 December 2014

CARE QUALITY COMMISSION report on IMPERIAL HEALTH TRUST – 

Overall, this is a disappointing report, but not entirely surprising.

The rating of the A&E at St Mary’s as inadequate bears out what we have been 
saying for some time: problems in the handover area for ambulances; problems with ambulance turnaround times; worrying issues about early discharge; lack of adequate links with primary care services which would keep people out of hospital.

Yet the A&E at Charing Cross, marked for closure, is rated as ‘good’.

Why are Imperial planning to move the stroke unit, ‘third best performing hospital in the country’ according to the CQC, from Charing Cross to St Mary’s?

Outpatient services across Imperial’s hospitals rated as ‘inadequate’. There are 
concerns about inconsistent cleanliness, infection control and hygiene across the Trust. There are significant backlogs for elective surgery and major staff shortages in some wards with an over-reliance on agency and bank staff. Bed capacity for some areas is a cause for concern. 

Save Our Hospitals is left wondering why Imperial Health Trust and the CCG should proceed with the largest reorganisation of the NHS before they have got outpatient treatment – increasingly long appointment and then clinic waiting times – sorted. We are told the aim is to treat more people in the community – but outpatient capacity, key to out of hospital services - at all 3 hospitals has not increased capacity to meet patient needs, not have appropriate links with primary care been established – where these exist!

Management response to the report is worryingly complacent. The CQC has found some serious concerns which cannot be wished away. Imperial College Healthcare Trust needs to get the basics right before embarking on the major reorganisation that is planned across NW London. Already the closure of two small A&Es in the NW London area has caused Imperial to fall dramatically in the league tables for A&E waiting times. To proceed with the demolition of Charing Cross, the sale of 55% of the land and the building of a mini-hospital there with no acute beds and no real A&E, the demolition of 45% of St Mary’s with a major rebuild there and the closure of the Western Eye Hospital is a serious attack on local health provision.

SOH is calling for a moratorium on further reorganisation, for a rethink of the proposals and a reconsultation based on clear clinical evidence that that reorganisation will work. From the CQC report it seems that current provision is inadequate and now is not the time to reduce the number of beds and close A&Es and move a world class stroke unit to another hospital.

Merril Hammer,
Chair, Save Our Hospitals: Hammersmith and Charing Cross


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