Hospital Campaign Turns Party Political

Cross party support at a low

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Ealing's hospital campaign has turned political with claims that local residents have been 'abandoned' by the Tories.

It follows a debate at council on Tuesday (10th December) in which Labour condemned the decision to close accident and emergency units at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex Hospitals and downgrade A&Es at Ealing and Charing Cross Hospitals.

The Conservative group didn't support the motion which specifically condemned the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt.

Previously all three parties have been unified in their campaign.

Ealing Labour council leader, Cllr Julian Bell, said:

“It is breath-taking that the Conservative group have abandoned local people like this. At the last general election the Conservatives promised there would be no more A&E closures. During our campaign to save the hospitals the Ealing Conservatives said they would support local people.

''However now that the Conservative secretary of State has betrayed his promise the local Conservative group have decided to do the same. They even have the cheek to say that we should count the decision to close local A&Es as some kind of victory for Ealing. It just goes to show you can’t trust the Tories on the NHS.

However Conservative group leader, Cllr David Millican, said Labour has broken the cross-party agreement by playing politics.

''It was a depressing meeting at Full Council (10 Dec) when Labour declined to accept the commitments from Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary that A&E provision would remain at Ealing and Charing Cross Hospital.

''The local hospital chiefs, two different High Court judges and the Independent Reconfiguration Panel had all said the A&Es at Ealing and Charing Cross Hospitals should close.  But Jeremy Hunt was the only person who supported our case, and overturned their recommendations, and guaranteed in Parliament that the A&Es will remain open.

''.. Jeremy Hunt has decreed that A&Es will remain at Ealing and Charing Cross Hospitals.  We should thank him for that and should return to cross-party agreement.  The health and wellbeing of our residents should be above party politics.''

Despite the disagreement between Labour and Conservative over Jeremy Hunt's role, the Liberal Democrat Leader, Gary Malcolm, says all three parties are still against closures:

'' Residents and political parties can be happy about saving two of the local A&E wards BUT the fight goes on as Ealing and Charing Cross Hospitals will be more under pressure from the extra patients that will be inevitably be generated due to the other A&E closures.

'' Having more people travelling longer distances will lead to deaths. Also with a growing birth rate closing maternity services in West London does not seem sensible. "



12th December 2013