'A Sad Day For West London '

Assembly member on the closures of two local A+ E units

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Ealing and Hillingdon London Assembly Member, Dr Onkar Sahota, has accused the Health Secretary of “blindly pushing through flawed closures” in the NHS in London, after he failed to intervene to prevent the closure of the A&E units at Central Middlesex Hospital and Hammersmith Hospital.

Under its Shaping a healthier future plans, the government wants to have fewer but bigger A&Es in north-west London.

The two A&E units will today shut their doors, despite a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report into the North West London Hospital Trust giving the A&E unit at Central Middlesex Hospital a ‘good’ grade

The same report graded neighbouring Northwick Park Hospital A&E as ‘requires improvement’, and found “inadequate staffing levels to provide safe care to patients within the majors treatment area” at Northwick Park.

Dr Sahota previously wrote to the Health Secretary calling on him to halt the closures but has still not received a response.

In his letter Dr Sahota noted that “This level of A&E closures is unprecedented and amounts to a policy experiment with no safety measures. When Central Middlesex Hospital’s A&E closes, its patients will be sent to the underperforming, overworked and unsafe facilities at Northwick Park. We cannot go ahead with any changes…especially when good hospital A&E units are set to close, and one already identified as in need of improvement will be asked to pick up the slack.” Dr Sahota also wrote to the Mayor of London Boris Johnson calling on him to oppose the closures, but again received no response.

Commenting on the closures, London Assembly Labour Group Health Spokesperson, Dr Sahota AM: “Today is a sad day for the NHS in west London. Why the Health Secretary thinks it is acceptable to close a ‘good’ A&E unit, while the neighbouring hospital that will pick up the slack was judged as ‘requires improvement’, will be beyond belief for the thousands of people who today see their local A&E axed. Despite all the evidence, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been blindly intent on pushing through these flawed closures. Londoners expect and deserve better from those running their NHS.

“If we needed an indication of the Mayor’s priorities, this is surely it. Instead of speaking out against closing these A&E units before the replacement has come up to standard, he has shown scant regard for vital NHS services in London. Since I wrote to him, the Mayor has spent time campaigning in Swindon and Bath and no doubt preparing for his upcoming selection meeting in Uxbridge. What he hasn’t done is found any time to fight to protect critical A&E services in west London. It is yet more evidence the Mayor is prioritising his own political career over the needs of Londoners.”

10th September 2014