Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Experts Support SAVE OUR HOSPITALS - Plans 'Deeply Flawed'

Paul WilliamsTue, Apr 21, 2015

The Independent Health Commission, set up by four West London boroughs (Hammersmith and Fulham, Ealing, Brent and Hounslow) and chaired by Michael Mansfield QC, has released a preliminary report.

They have concluded that the reorganisation plans, Shaping a Healthier Future, are ‘deeply flawed’ – just what Save Our Hospitals has been saying for more than 2 years.
Campaigners outside Hammersmith in September 2014

Under Shaping a Healthier Future, NW London is to lose 4 A&Es – two have already gone in September 2014, Hammersmith and Central Middlesex. The other two are Charing Cross and Ealing. Charing Cross is to be demolished, 55% of land to be sold to private developers, and a small cottage-type hospital with only 24-64 overnight beds to replace the current 360-bed acute hospital.

SOH campaigners protesting at the closure of Hammersmith Hospital A&E on 10th September 2014

The preliminary report, drawn up by independent consultants Seán Boyle and Roger Steer, provides damning evidence to support SOH’s demands for a stop to the reorganisation plans and for a complete rethink of the proposals.

The main SaHF proposals and rationale are shown to be lacking any supporting evidence and they describe the programme as a ‘preconceived solution’ imposed on local people without there being any clear problem that needed to be solved.

The consultants stress that there has been ‘no proper assessment of the needs of the whole area to which the health and social care system would respond’. They point our clearly that there is still no clear and final business case to support the plans. And state clearly the, with the current estimate of the programme at £1 billion,’ it is unlikely that the SaHF programme as a whole would be affordable or deliverable’.

SOH has consistently said that Out of Hospital services, however good, are not yet in place and nor are they likely to compensate for the loss of hospital beds. The consultants agree with us and add ‘ the evidence on the impact of better primary care and OOH services on demand for A&E services is flawed’.

Merril Hammer, chair of Save Our Hospitals, welcomes the interim report. ‘Plans for closures and cuts to health services in NW London should be withdrawn immediately and a proper assessment of local health needs needs to undertaken. This interim report is entirely damning of the SaHF proposals. Local health bodies need to respond by withdrawing the current proposals.’

Chiswick Herald.co.uk

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