|Calls To Reopen Ealing's Maternity Hospital|
Commission wants decision to be reversed
The continuing downgrade of Ealing Hospital should be halted according to the findings of The Independent Healthcare Commission for North West London.
The group, led by Michael Mansfield QC, was commissioned by Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Brent, Hounslow and Harrow Councils to look into changes to local services under the Shaping a Healthier Future' (SaHF) plan.
Mr Mansfield has described it as ' deeply flawed' and warns that closures threaten "the fundamental principles of a universal NHS"
The commission was particularly concerned about the closure of the "exemplary" maternity unit at Ealing Hospital.
The group recommends that the unit should be reopened and also want Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals to retain the full 'blue light' A&E services for the foreseeable future.
However, NHS London has defended the SaHF plan, saying patients were already benefitting from it.
"We now have eleven community hubs open across North West London, which provide a range of health and social care services in one place, closer to people's homes.
"Part of the improvement plan includes additional investment to modernise and increase capacity in our hospitals and community sites."
Labour London Assembly Health Spokesperson Dr Onkar Sahota AM, said:
“Today’s recommendation is welcome but it shouldn’t come as a surprise to the government. It’s basic common sense that if you shut down A&E services neighbouring hospitals will take a hit.
"This undoubtedly means extra pressure on staff and resources and a longer wait for patients needing urgent care.
“The Mayor needs to step up to the plate and launch a strong lobby for better resources for London’s NHS. We need that action to happen now.
"Without it we’re facing a very tough Christmas as overstretched services struggle to cope with the heavier workload the holiday period is destined to bring.”
December 2nd 2015