Karen Buck

Working tirelessly for Westminster North

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Massive changes to hospital services in North West London about to be announced

NHS North West London has produced a ‘medium-list' of options for hospital closures and shifts in service provision, which will be formally consulted on after this election period is over.

It is expected that only 5 out of 9 hospitals will continue to operate as now.

The nine current hospitals Hospitals have been paired up, with the expectation that only one of the two would remain as a major, 24/7 acute hospital.

This is detailed by Westminster Council's Health Policy committee as meaning:

HAMMERSMITH vs ST MARY'S

CHARING CROSS vs CHELSEA and WESTMINSTER

EALING vs WEST MIDDLESEX

Central Middlesex is already reported as being too small to continue as a major hospital, and Northwick Park and Hillingdon are expected to remain as they serve areas of outer London with fewer alternatives.

The dramatic reduction in the number of Accident and Emergency units being proposed is based on two concepts:

· That better emergency outcomes can be achieved with a smaller number of more specialist hospitals

· Many people go to Accident and Emergency units unnecessarily when they could be better treated in local GP/community facilities ( and attendances at Accident and Emergency have soared in recent years)

These proposals have been in the public domain for some weeks but will not be formerly consulted on until later this summer .

My big worry is that alternative GP- based or community services will not be in place BEFORE Accident and Emergency units close, especially given the massive cuts now facing the London NHS, and the huge reductions in social care for elderly and disabled people made by local authorities, including Westminster Council.

I have written a short article for the local press on this issue, which you can see by clicking on the hyper-link below:

http://www.karenbuck.org.uk/index.php/karenb/articles/huge_changes_for_north_west_londons_aes/

The particular challenges for London- including the urgent need for a proper London-wide leadership on the NHS, is described in this article by health think-tank, the Kings Fund, here:

http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/press/press_releases/london_review_press.html

I will be making sure that as many people as possible reply to the official consultation when it comes out, but I thought it was important to give you advance warning! These changes will be some of the largest and most controversial in recent NHS history and it will essential to have a well-informed debate and build community health provision before A and E closures actually take place.

Karen Buck MP

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