Published 17 March 2015
The Independent Health Commission set up to examine the impact of the NHS’s decision to change hospital services in the area, including A&E and maternity, is to hold a public evidence hearing in Ealing.
The session which is open to the public, will take place at Ealing Town Hall on Saturday, 21 March 2015 between 9.30 and 5.30pm.
Among those being asked to give evidence are local MPs, councillors, representatives from the NHS including front line clinical staff, community campaigners and local people who have used services.
The commission, which is led by Barrister Michael Mansfield QC, was set up by Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham and Hounslow councils who have raised serious concerns about the scale, speed and safety of the changes and the ability of the remaining services to cope with the extra demand. It is the largest reorganisation ever undertaken in NHS history.
Dr Stephen Hirst, a retired GP from Chiswick who has extensive local knowledge and John Lister, researcher on the People’s Inquiry into London’s NHS in 2012 will complete the commission.
The first session was held on Saturday, 14 March at Hammersmith Town Hall. There will also be further meetings at Hounslow Civic Centre on Saturday, 28 March and finally, at Brent Civic Centre on Saturday, 9 May.
Mr Mansfield, said: “This commission will look at the impacts of past and proposed changes to healthcare in west London. It will create a detailed picture by taking a wide range of evidence into account, including a forensic examination of the facts and figures as well as personal accounts from patients and healthcare professionals.”
The changes that will be reviewed include the closures of A&Es at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex hospitals in September 2014. It will also scrutinise plans to demolish Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals, replacing them with much smaller hospitals resulting in a significant reduction in acute hospital beds as well as the removal of ‘blue light’ A&E services at both hospitals. In addition, it will look at the changes to maternity services in Ealing which will mean that women will no longer be able to give birth in Ealing Hospital. The commission will also assess the quality and type of out of hospital provision including GP services which the NHS promised to overhaul prior to hospital services closing.
Councillor Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council, said: “Good local health services are essential to the wellbeing of our residents. The future provision of services is vitally important and so I would urge people to attend and listen to the evidence being presented.
“I am looking forward to attending the public evidence hearing and speaking on behalf of Ealing residents. am delighted that we have such a high-calibre panel of commissioners who will be reviewing all the written and oral evidence before providing its opinion.”