Ealing Hospital - Not an Open or Shut Case
Conflicting views about its future from local MPs
The Ealing Southall Labour MP Virendra Sharma, led a protest outside Ealing Hospital this week during the Prime Minister's visit - claiming that closure is still on the cards.
But the Conservative MP for Ealing Central and Acton Angie Bray says this simply isn't the case.
Mr Sharma told staff and patients entering the hospital on Monday (16 May) that the £1bn budget gap in NW London NHS could only be plugged by reconfiguring acute services and all evidence suggested that the government had plans to close Ealing Hospital.
He said: '' It is a bit of a cheek for David Cameron to come to Ealing Hospital when he is planning to close it. He talks about not taking risks with and protecting the NHS, but by implementing these reforms he will be wasting vital tax payers’ money that could be used to protect frontline health services and hospitals under threat like Ealing.''
Leader of Ealing Council Councillor Julian Bell said, “We have known for some time that the government has plans to close Ealing hospital so we will stand with the local community to defend our local hospital.''
Angie Bray acknowledged that discussions are currently underway but she says they are NOT about closure:
'' "Ealing Hospital is engaged in talks with Northwick Park and Central Middlesex Hospitals about a merger to strengthen their longterm future together. They are developing a business plan to demonstrate a viable financial case which will also help to alleviate the long-standing NHS London budget deficit. This is about building Ealing Hospital's future not shutting it down.
'' It is clear that Ealing Hospital continues to play a very important role in the local community and its A and E department serves some 100,000 patients a year. The hospital is also planning a further investment of over £1 million in maternity services which is a clear signal that there is confidence its future.
"I don't know why Virendra Sharma MP and Cllr. Julian Bell thought it helpful to parade outside the hospital during the Prime Minister's visit telling staff and visitors that the Prime Minister was planning to close the hospital.
''For a start, any decisions on health provision in London are taken by NHS London who manage their own budget. What I do know is that when there were real concerns that Ealing was to lose its A and E department because of NHS London's financial problems under the previous Labour administration, I never once heard any complaints from either gentleman."
18 May 2011