|Ealing and Charing Cross Accident and Emergencies Safe ... For Now|
But uncertainty remains over the units
Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals will keep their accident and emergency units - although not necessarily in their current form - but Central Middlesex and Hammersmith hospitals will have to shut theirs.
Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, made the announcement today (30/10) - read the IRP report here.
Whilst many Ealing campaigners have welcomed the initial news, reaction has also been cautious.
There is confusion as to what form the new Accident and Emergency units in Ealing and Charing Cross will take - whether blue light ambulances will be accepted.
Ealing Southall Labour MP, Virendra Sharma, said:
'' It is most concerning that despite this good news uncertainty still remains on the future of Ealing Hospital’s A&E. Jeremy Hunt has admitted that there would be changes to the shape and size of the A&E and has given little idea of what these changes entail.
''With Dr Mark Spencer’s disclosure that Ealing Hospital A&E will not likely be accepting blue-light ambulances, it certainly seems as though this pledge to keep the A&E services is an underhanded way for the Secretary of State to downgrade Ealing Hospital while keeping the A&E in name only.''
Leader of Ealing Council, Julian Bell, said more information is needed:
''When you look at the IRP report it says that there will only be five major hospitals. He knows that you can only have a full A&E at a major hospital and we are left wondering if all we are being offered is an enhanced urgent care centre by another name. He has decided to close the maternity unit today which means anybody with an Ealing postcode will not be able to have their baby at their local hospital.
“If blue light ambulances can’t stop there and you can’t have a baby there then it isn’t a proper hospital.
However, Ealing Central and Acton Conservative MP, Angie Bray, tweeted:
'' Just to be clear I've been assured by Jeremy Hunt's office that there'll continue to be ambulances going to Ealing & Charing Cross hospitals.''
She said: '' Jeremy Hunt's announcement leaves my constituents in a much better place than we were in a year ago when we were starting on the campaign to save our four local A and Es. It is disappointing to lose the A and Es at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex but there will be great relief that the two bigger A and Es at Ealing and Charing Cross are to be retained. Jeremy Hunt has pledged publicly to me that they will be retained as A and Es whatever the plans for the future that the local Clinical Commissioning Group may put forward.
Ealing Conservative group leader, Councillor David Millican said:
"I am delighted that the Health Secretary consulted and listened to the concerns of our residents and saved Ealing and Charing Cross A&Es. Clearly we need to understand the full details of his proposals and the response from the local Clinical Commissioning Group but our cross-party campaign has worked for the benefit of the borough’s residents. Overall, this is a more positive outcome than we could have hoped for 12 months ago.”
Cllr Jon Ball for Ealing Lib Dems said the campaign is not over:
“I welcome the stay of execution for the A&E departments at Ealing and Charing Cross that Jeremy Hunt has announced today following a huge campaign from local residents and politicians of all parties. However, in addition to the disappointment about the downgrades at Central Middlesex and Hammersmith, this announcement raises more questions than it answers. Jeremy Hunt needs to spell out what the “changes to the services” he mentioned in his statement are and the length of his commitment that the A&E departments will remain open before there will be any champagne corks popping in Ealing.
''Until there is a clear commitment to the long term future of full Accident & Emergency, maternity and other acute services at our local hospitals, the campaign to save our hospitals goes on.”
31st October 2013