NHS Investigation Heading To Ealing

Public hearings will take place in March

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ActonW3.com, ChiswickW4.com and EalingToday.co.uk

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A panel investigating the reduction of NHS services in London will be gathering evidence from Ealing in March.

The Independent Health Commission inquiry has been set up by Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham and Hounslow councils, concerned about the impact of decisions to reduce hospital services including A&E and maternity.

The changes that will be reviewed include the closures of A&Es at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex hospitals in September 2014. It will also scrutinise plans to demolish Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals, replacing them with smaller hospitals resulting in a significant reduction in acute hospital beds as well as the removal of ‘blue light’ A&E services at both hospitals. In addition, it will look at the changes to maternity services in Ealing which will mean that women will no longer be able to give birth in Ealing Hospital.

The commission will also assess the quality and type of out-of-hospital provision including GP services which the NHS promised to overhaul prior to hospital services closing

Barrister, Michael Mansfield QC, is to head the commission. Dr Stephen Hirst, a retired GP from Chiswick who has extensive local knowledge, and John Lister, researcher on the People’s Inquiry into London’s NHS in 2012, will complete the commission.

A series of public meetings will be held across west London. The sessions will enable local people to hear evidence about changes already made, as well as those planned, to local health services in north west London.  It is the largest reorganisation ever undertaken in NHS history. 

The commission will also assess the quality and type of out-of-hospital provision including GP services which the NHS promised to overhaul prior to hospital services closing

Councillor Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council, said: “We have being saying for more than two years that the NHS’s plans for this area were untested. Having good local health services is essential to all our residents.  We are delighted that we have such a high-calibre commission reviewing the evidence before providing its opinion.  I would urge as many people as possible to attend the hearings or provide written evidence so that their views can be taken into account.”

People who wish to present their own evidence at the public hearing should write to the commission in the next couple of weeks setting out their experiences of using local health services. 

The first session will be held on Saturday, 14 March at Hammersmith Town Hall after which the Commission will move to Ealing Town Hall on Saturday, 21 March. There will be further meetings at Hounslow Civic Centre on Saturday, 28 March and finally, at Brent Civic Centre on Saturday, 9 May. 

People who wish to provide written evidence to the panel are asked to email peter.smith@lbhf.gov.uk as soon as possible.  People can also send submissions by post to Peter Smith, Clerk to the Commission, Room 39, Hammersmith Town Hall, London W6 9JU.

Meanwhile 200 health protesters - many of them under the age of one - gathered on Wednesday outside Ealing Town Hall.

They were protesting against plans to close Ealing Hospital Maternity and Ealing A&E. Oliver New from Ealing Save Our NHS said:

"Despite all the evasions,  the intention of Health Chiefs  to close these vital services has not changed. Although Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group, which is meeting today hasn't set closure dates they remain committed to their strategy to shut down these vital services. Ealing Maternity has a fantastic record, yet the CCG has told GPs it has no future, thus undermining a much loved and vital service for Ealing mums. As for the intention to close the A&E, it doesn't bear thinking about.  But these are the clear policies laid down in a document called Shaping a Healthier Future,  supported by Ealing CCG "



28th January 2015