Health Commission Comes To Ealing

Michael Mansfield QC to chair public meeting on Saturday 21st March

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Residents are invited to hear evidence about major changes to local hospital services at a meeting this Saturday.

The Health Commission which is led by campaigning barrister Michael Mansfield QC, was set up by Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham and Hounslow councils who have concerns about the reorganisation.

Mr Mansfield, said: “This commission will look at the impacts of past and proposed changes to healthcare in west London. It will create a detailed picture by taking a wide range of evidence into account, including a forensic examination of the facts and figures as well as personal accounts from patients and healthcare professionals.”

Among those being asked to give evidence are local MPs, councillors, representatives from the NHS including front line clinical staff, community campaigners and local people who have used services.

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.

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 much smaller facilities as well as the removal of ‘blue light’ A&E services in favour of 'urgent care facilities' 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.

The first session was held on Saturday, 14 March at Hammersmith Town Hall. There will also be further meetings at Hounslow Civic Centre on Saturday, 28 March and finally, at Brent Civic Centre on Saturday, 9 May.

Councillor Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council, said: “Good local health services are essential to the wellbeing of our residents. The future provision of services is vitally important and so I would urge people to attend and listen to the evidence being presented.

“I am looking forward to attending the public evidence hearing and speaking on behalf of Ealing residents. am delighted that we have such a high-calibre panel of commissioners who will be reviewing all the written and oral evidence before providing its opinion.”

Leader of the Conservative group Cllr Greg Stafford said:

'' Labour's health commission is nothing more than a Labour party-political stunt at the cost of tens of thousands to Ealing's taxpayers. Michael Mansfield may well be respected in his field, but "Independent" he is not.
''Julian Bell has already called for an independent inquiry which happened last year and did not find in his favour. It was only the Conservative Health Minister who intervened to save the hospitals at Ealing and Charing Cross.
''Local Labour has just slashed the public health budget in Ealing by £6 million; this should be the subject of an inquiry as it will cut vital health services for the most vulnerable in our community.
Instead we are seeing Ed Miliband's "weaponisation" of the NHS in action. Labour should be ashamed of this nakedly political act."

The session which is open to the public, will take place at Ealing Town Hall on Saturday, 21 March 2015 between 9.30 and 5.30pm.

17th March 2015