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30.07.14

Protests against Imperial hospital closure plans

Campaigners fighting hospital reconfiguration plans in London are protesting outside Hammersmith hospital this morning.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Charing Cross, Hammersmith and St Mary’s Hospitals, has published plans for its three sites expected to be approved today.

It includes the already-announced closure of Hammersmith A&E, selling off just over half of the Charing Cross hospital site for redevelopment and major changes to the services it provides, and a net reduction of 170 beds across the three sites.

Local Labour MP Andy Slaughter (pictured) wrote: “To suggest that services are ‘changing’ rather than closing is misleading and dangerous. This closure programme, the biggest in NHS history, has been subject to spin and concealment by the local NHS and the government throughout.”

He called it a “cost-driven decision” and said: “My constituents are being insulted by disingenuous nonsense about ‘changing’ and ‘transforming’ when the services are simply being shut down.”

The trust’s ‘Clinical strategy 2014–2020: Unlocking our potential to transform health and care’ notes: “Along with the rest of the NHS and other healthcare systems, we are now facing a very difficult set of challenges – most significantly, the need to transform healthcare to meet the needs of many more people living longer and epidemic levels of chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease...This clinical strategy sets out how we propose to organise, deliver and develop our services over the next five years to meet these challenges.”

Trust chief executive Dr Tracey Batten said: “The status quo is not an option if the trust is to respond to changing health needs and continue to provide high quality care.

“The draft clinical strategy focuses on transforming services through the implementation of new models of care to ensure our services achieve the best outcomes, are joined up, tailored to individual needs and provide an excellent patient experience. It also reflects the wider service change programme for north west London, ‘Shaping a healthier future’. This programme, led by local commissioners, was approved by the Secretary of State for Health in October 2013 following a full public consultation and a review by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel. Everything in our draft clinical strategy is in line with Shaping a healthier future.”

She said the current Charing Cross Hospital building is intended to be replaced with a £150m development to be designed for future health needs, and that there will be new, purpose-built facilities at Charing Cross and St Mary’s.

She said “there will be a continued 24/7 emergency service at Charing Cross Hospital”, though campaigners say this proposed urgent care centre staffed by GPs and nurses is not good enough.

Dr Batten said: “The budget for inpatient hospital care has to reduce – and can be reduced –so we can provide more and better care out of hospital and focus more on keeping people healthier.”

The local Save Our Hospitals campaign said: “The Imperial Trust are having a public meeting to decide the future of Charing Cross Hospital and it is very likely that the decision will be made to close it down. This will be catastrophic for this area that we live in!

“Before the last general election, David Cameron promised that the NHS would be safe in his hands. Well the NHS is now in Mr Cameron’s hands and he is proceeding with the biggest hospital closure program in the history of the NHS. And these closures will leave West London with a greatly reduce number of hospitals and A&E departments at a time when the present number can barely cope.”

(Photo of Andy Slaughter via http://saveourhospitals.blogspot.co.uk/)

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@nationalhealthexecutive.com

Comments

Sarah Tang   31/07/2014 at 12:17

Andy Slaughter is playing a terrible political game. Our NHS cannot continue to deliver in its current format, Mr Slaughter's constituents will be much better off with a higher quality service, less reliant on hospital beds and more fitting for local requirements as a result of these brave reconfigurations. London went through this whole palaver when they restructured Stroke services and now the city has the best rapid response services for stroke victims in the country. Mr Slaughter clearly does not understand his constituent's and what is best for their health needs and is playing a dull and predictable political game at the expense of health service progress.

J A Henry Msc BMS Msc Mol Path   31/07/2014 at 12:49

Man up and face the fact. Lawyers are paid well, accountants and bankers follow suit. There is faster development than excellent healthcare. This cannot, should not and will not be maintained under current models. Let the health professionals earn what they deserve and let us provide insurance in our healthcare to meet our user needs.

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