Monday, 1 June 2015

Hospital bosses slammed for closure plans

NHS bosses were grilled about plans to cut services at Charing Cross Hospital and close its A&E unit – while replacing it with a new facility a fraction of its size and capacity – at a public hearing.
The independent North West London Healthcare Commission, led by esteemed barrister Michael Mansfield QC, concluded a series of hearings investigating the NHS plans last week.
The commission was initiated by Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council. The Commission is funded by the London boroughs of Brent, Ealing, H&F, Harrow and Hounslow, to examine the Shaping a Healthier Future (SAHF) proposals from the NHS.

These plans would dramatically reduce services at Charing Cross Hospital and sell off part of the site – and has already seen the closure the A&E at Hammersmith Hospital last year, despite protests by the council and residents.
“Residents want their council to stand with them to defend local health services. That’s exactly what we’re doing,” said Hammersmith & Fulham Council Leader, Cllr Stephen Cowan.
“It is now clear that health bosses failed to consider huge anticipated rises in population, not least the 70,000 new residents moving into the northern ward of Hammersmith & Fulham in the coming decades. Meanwhile, there are real concerns about Imperial’s failures at St. Mary’s and its financial competence.
“Closing Charing Cross and shutting down much of north west London’s NHS would be catastrophic for residents and the long term provision of NHS care.”

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust runs Hammersmith, St. Mary’s and Charing Cross hospitals. Its plan involves selling off the significant proportion of land on the current Charing Cross site so it can make improvements to St Mary’s hospital in Paddington. Under that plan H&F residents would be expected to go to Paddington for many A&E services. Imperial hopes to downgrade Charing Cross Hospital’s A&E to an urgent care clinic.
To do this, Imperial hoped to pass an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) earlier this year.
However, Hammersmith & Fulham Council strongly opposes the plans to demolish Charing Cross Hospital and replace its A&E with an urgent care clinic, and identified a series of criticisms with Imperial’s plans and ability to manage their current service.
H&F’s concerns were submitted to the CQC, and Imperial later failed the inspection, which has delayed their plans.
In addition, the trust’s SAHF proposals do not take into account the estimated increase in the borough’s population of 70,000 new residents once the Crossrail and High Speed 2 rail links and new developments in Old Oak are built.

To watch all of the Commission’s public hearings,
The final public hearing:
At the public hearing at Brent Civic Centre, the independent commission questioned the SAHF programme, which would see four out of nine West London hospitals downsized and their specialised services sent to St Mary’s in Paddington, Chelsea & Westminster or Northwick Park hospitals.
Dr Mark Spencer, Medical Director of the SAHF programme and Deputy Regional Medical Director, NHS England (London), was unable to explain why the business case for the reorganisation was still not finalised – despite seeing both the A&E units at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex hospitals shut.
“I’m not the person to answer financial questions,” said Dr Spencer, who added that the poor performance of local A&Es after Hammersmith Hospital’s unit was shut was only a ‘seasonal’ event – rather than a sign that demand for emergency care was beginning to outstrip supply.

However, growing disquiet at the knock-on effect on other hospitals, of the closure of emergency services at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex, has also resulted in the surprise announcement by NHS England of its own inquiry into how hospital reconfiguration in west London is being handled.
Dr Spencer was also questioned by commission member Dr Stephen Hirst, a retired GP from Chiswick, who asked if it was accurate to describe Charing Cross as a ‘hospital’ in the future given the NHS plans to reduce services and sell off land at the site. “It will do surgery, it is a hospital,” Dr Spencer answered.
Dr Hirst went on to describe the SAHF programme as a ‘juggernaut that has started and was impossible to stop’.

Fellow commission member John Lister, researcher on the People's Inquiry into London's NHS in 2012 and Senior Lecturer in Journalism at Coventry University, also clashed with Dr Spencer, asking: “Why are we reducing hospital services before the local community services are in place?”
Dr Lister also criticised the SAHF programme for its lack of a business case and said to Dr Spencer: “As a doctor, don’t you believe in reading the evidence and being sure of the outcome before you start?” With Dr Spencer responding: “The business cases are in draft, as I said.”
The Commission’s final report is expected to be published this summer.

Who is Michael Mansfield?
In 2013 Michael Mansfield QC chaired the Lewisham People's Commission, an inquiry into the proposals to close services at Lewisham Hospital. He has represented defendants in criminal trials, appeals and inquiries in some of the most controversial legal cases in the country.
He represented the family of Jean Charles de Menezes and the families of victims at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry. He chaired an inquiry into the shoot to kill policy in Northern Ireland and has represented many families at inquests, including the Marchioness disaster and the Lockerbie bombing. He also represents the family of Stephen Lawrence.
He is joined on the commission by Dr Stephen Hirst, a retired GP from Chiswick with extensive local knowledge and John Lister, researcher on the People's Inquiry into London's NHS in 2012 and Senior Lecturer in Journalism at Coventry University.

» Send us your comments now
This is INSANE the population of H&F increases & yet they want to close it.
Today I tried to make an out-patient appointment & was told nothing for 3 months. They must NOT be allowed to reduce hospital/medical services to the people of H&F they are already not good enough. Seek to improve them NOT reduce them.
From Peter on 28/05/2015 at 15:54
I have had to utilise the services provided at Charing Cross hospital and can not image the hospital not being there and how much further I would have to travel. Please stop this sheer short sightedness for financial gain......please stop this utter madness!!
From amh on 28/05/2015 at 09:14
I have had to utilise the services provided at Charing Cross hospital and can not image the hospital not being there and how much further I would have to travel. Please stop this sheer short sightedness for financial gain......please stop this utter madness!!
From amh on 28/05/2015 at 09:14
I fear for the lives of patients, I hear horror stories, I have seen the crisis on a personal level. To downgrade would be a local danger, but would hurt those in Barnes and Sheen too as it is their local hospital. Many departments are being moved under cover. It is shameful that doctors trained , funded by the tax payer have grandiose ambitions to destroy our NHS . Our health should be be at risk due to a political ideology.

Also I urge staff to stop acting like frozen rabbits and speak out . Can't sack 10,000 employees. I urge all users of Charing Cross Hospital in area or out of borough to come together, join campaignes and defend. Only you can do it.
From Pete G on 26/05/2015 at 02:15

As a regular user of Charing Cross Hospital I am appalled at the proposals
to reduce services at Charing Cross.
When I went to the Urology Out Patients
recently I had to wait 2 hours before I
could be seen. Charing Cross is a very busy hospital and any reduction in its services would be disastrous. Besides
if like me you are disabled the thought of having to go to St Mary''s
Hospital is really alarming.
John Newton
From Dr John Newton on 24/05/2015 at 12:25

It seems that no-one wants to make any modernising changes to the NHS and this council is no exception - most of the senior doctors I know say there must be consolidation.
From tim roberton on 24/05/2015 at 11:38
I cannot believe it has taken so long for the Powers that be to work out that building hundreds if not thousands of new homes plus closing A & E / hospitals equals disaster
From M. Hodd on 22/05/2015 at 08:23

Last Monday evening a 90 year old friend suffered a bad gash on her leg.Taken to Chelsea and Westminster A&E she was told there would be a 3 hour wait so she went home. The pain was so bad that she called Emergency and the doctor who saw it arranged for her to be taken immediately to C&W where she was attended to and kept overnight.Closing Charing X A&E will make the situation at C&W even worse and should be rigorously opposed.
From L.J.Manson on 21/05/2015 at 16:59

The population growth will be fuelled in the immediate future by the current growth in new office buildings, luxury riverside apartments and multiple occupancy flats currently being constructed throughout Hammersmith on every inch of available land.
Whoever thinks that closing Charing Cross hospital and A&E is a good idea must be totally bonkers! The cost of buiding a new "fit for purpose" hospital facility to replace the current one would greatly outweigh than any short term financial benefit gained by selling off the land.
From Geoffrey Castle on 21/05/2015 at 16:04

From K. Iskarous on 21/05/2015 at 15:14
I had to go to St Marys hospital on Tuesday and Wednesday the place is old dirty and every department is all over the place. You have to go miles round if your disabled because of stairs everywhere this hospital is not a touch to Charing Cross hospital the move is down right rediculous
From Ron williams on 21/05/2015 at 15:06

Please do not close Charing Cross Hospital. St Mary''s can not cope with the number of patients now. It will be a nightmare with the influx of many more people in the future.
From Prue Angus on 21/05/2015 at 14:38

It is common knowledge that the A nd E performance at Charing Cross in the past has
Been infinitely superior to that of St Mary''s Paddington- it is ludicrous to make any structural changes to this service no one in the area wants change we thoroughly object to it.
From James on 21/05/2015 at 14:07

Imperial is run by a bunch of power hungry greedy establisment. I should know - I am employed by them. I am theatre sister at Charring cross hospital. The trust is robbing us blind. Our overtime is stopped since the 1st of march, our bank rates are frozen, when we stay after hours we are allocated time back which is never given back as we are always busy, overworked and understaffed, we cover private patients on nhs time so the trust pockets the money which is supposed to be paid to us front liners
now they want us to spend more money in our canteen or they will close it down as it is costing the trust money to keep it open. All of this is demotivating, we are working for free for most of the time whilst the consultants get their full remuneration for private patients and managers will get their bonuses at the end of the financial year for saving money 
and what do we get?
From valerie falzon on 21/05/2015 at 13:59

Why is LBHF tax payer's money being used on this inquiry? The council has no power over NHS. Surely the council is not empowered to spend our taxes on areas outside it's remit.
Reply from the council: Councils do, in fact, have a formal duty to scrutinise local health services and speak on behalf of local people on health issues. Health is not therefore outside our remit.
From SM on 21/05/2015 at 13:46

I have been a GP in Fulham from 1987 to 2015 and have a pretty good knowledge of what is needed in terms of local medical services. The closure of Charing Cross and the rebuild of a token small medical service to try and keep people happy is nothing short of a dangerous disgrace. It is yet another NHS decision that is politically led and bears no resemblance to what is best for the local community or sensible medically. I have had so so many instances of Charing Cross and Chelsea and Westminster being totally unable to cope with emergencies and in admitting patients - so to lop off a large hospital like Charing Cross is madness. The people who run Imperial are fixated with centralising everything at St Mary''s and seem unable to take a broad view of what is best medically and what is best for the people - just what suits themselves. I feel so very let down by Imperial and the government ministers who presumably have a final say in this. It is politics rather than looking after the community and I''m disgusted.
From dr mike evans on 21/05/2015 at 13:44

The complete lack of understanding of the local community and the devastating impact in local long term sick and elderly people is quite overt and startling to say the least. Clearly, those who are empowered to make these life changing decisions could not care less about local people and wish to reshape the community into something akin to a socially cleansed neighbourhood suitable only for the rich.
From Catherine on 21/05/2015 at 13:07

A&E is a jumble accepting everyone . It would be more successful if it split its intake. So one hospital would deal with patients over the age of 75 only and it would be more successful in specialising in geriatric care.
Another hospital could specialise only in care for children of school age. 1 to 16.
Once we start splitting into these age groups which can. Achieve economy of effort.
From Bozidar Zabavnik on 21/05/2015 at 13:00

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