Future of Charing Cross hospital (1) - Question from Andy Slaughter MP for Hammersmith
Future of Charing Cross hospital (
2) - Question from Andy Slaughter MP for Hammersmith
THREATS, ‘LIES’, VINDICATION
Over the last 5 years we have been fighting plans to downgrade Charing Cross Hospital from a major acute hospital to little more than a glorified Urgent Care Centre, with a huge loss of beds, consultants, A&E and acute services.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council joined the fight to keep the hospital open. This year, with the council tax bill, they delivered posters saying SAVE CHARING CROSS HOSPITAL to all residents asking that they be put in windows.
Health bosses, under attack for years from campaigners, were clearly rattled by this. They wrote to the council leader, Stephen Cowan, threatening to raise a formal complaint to the Dept for Communities and Local Government, claiming that the council was going beyond their remit, wasting tax payers money and upsetting NHS staff and patients by claiming the hospital was still going to close.
Later, Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council, received a similar threatening letter about council funds being used to fight the closure of Ealing Hospital. It is no coincidence that both councils are in the same STP footprint (NW London) nor that both councils were the 1st to refuse to sign up to the STP.
Health bosses claim the hospitals are not closing despite the significant downgrading. As Stephen Cowan has pointed out in an even more recent letter to all residents, “It’s like demolishing someone’s house only to tell them they have in fact not lost their house because the new garden shed they’ve been given will henceforth be known as a ‘local house’.”
During the general election, the Tories reprinted the CCG/Imperial letter to Cllr Cowan after it was published on Imperial’s website, and used it as part of their election campaign claiming the council, and by implication campaigners, were lying about the threat to the hospital.
Just after the election Guardian Online published an article which showed that only 13% of the hospital site would be used for health purposes – the remainder to be sold off to property developers. The now amended article (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jun/16/most-of-central-london-hospital-to-be-sold-off-secret-plans-reveal ), states both that no closure will go ahead without consultation but also, in direct contradiction), the DoH confirmed that consultation had already taken place in 2012/13 and closure plans will go ahead.
Campaigners believe that threats to the councils and pressure on the media are a sign of how rattled health bosses are in the face of wide-spread public opposition to their plans and of councils who are standing up for their hospitals.
WE WILL NOT BE BULLIED!