Sunday, 24 January 2016

Crisis talks urged as hospital closure costs spiral

Charing Cross Hospital

Hammersmith & Fulham leader, Cllr Stephen Cowan has called on Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to ‘act now’ as the cost of contentious changes to local health services spirals out of control.
The North West London NHS ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ programme has been dogged by controversy since its launch, with a recent Independent Commission chaired by Michael Mansfield QC calling for an immediate halt to the scheme, which would see a majority of services at Charing Cross Hospital axed.
Figures in the report show how costs have soared, ballooning from £112 million in 2012 to £1.3 billion now, a ten-fold increase.
Hammersmith & Fulham leader, Cllr Stephen Cowan, said: “Michael Mansfield’s superb independent report drove a coach and horses through the plans to close Charing Cross Hospital, and called for an immediate stop to the process.
“But as each day passes without a halt, we are seeing costs soar to eye-watering levels, with current estimates putting the price of this scheme at £1.3 billion.
“As Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt has the power to call a halt to these dangerous changes before any further damage is done – or any more money wasted.
“I am hopeful that, when confronted with the impact these plans will have and their massive cost, he will see sense and act. That’s why I have called on him to get round the table with me and other local council leaders to hammer out a sensible way forward.”
H&F leader Cllr Stephen Cowan and the leaders of four neighbouring boroughs have written to Jeremy Hunt to discuss the Independent Healthcare Commission report and recommendations.
Michael Mansfield QC’s landmark report highlighted a catalogue of deficiencies with the North West London NHS ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ programme, including plans to axe a majority of services at Charing Cross Hospital.
The public consultation on SaHF, presented in 2012, estimated the capital costs of the scheme would be £112m.
The latest estimates, as of the end of 2015, project capital costs of £1.3 billion.
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