EALING and Charing Cross District General Hospitals are to have their Accident and Emergency Departments closed under the North West London Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), which was published yesterday.
The plan is one of 44 STPs being created across the UK, breaking up the NHS, closing A&Es and maternity and paediatric units. Under the plan, critical care, blue-light ambulances and all surgery will be removed from Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals, to save £1.3 billion.
The ‘Healthier NW London’ cuts and closure programme for the eight north-west London boroughs from Westminster to Hillingdon is one of the first STPs in the country to be published and is now seeking Tory government approval.
The STP claims that £1.3bn can be cut from the NW London area between 2017 and 2021 without significant damage to health care in the region. It proposes an enormous transformation of acute and primary care in a short period of time, closing two acute hospitals and losing more than 500 beds.
Cllr Stephen Cowan, Hammersmith and Fulham Council leader, said: ‘The people of this borough deserve better – and we won’t stop fighting until they get it. The STP is a deeply cynical re-hash of the earlier flawed plans which now proposes to close Charing Cross Hospital in 2021.
‘There are no good arguments for demolishing Charing Cross or for selling off much of the land and replacing it with an urgent care clinic just 13 per cent the size of the hospital. That’s why this administration will continue its fierce defence of Charing Cross and the vital local NHS services people rely on.’
Councillor Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council, said: ‘Despite huge local opposition, the NHS is hell-bent on carrying out the biggest reconfiguration experiment in its history and using the people of Ealing as its guinea pigs.
‘In this latest half-baked NHS plan Ealing Hospital will lose its A&E, despite assurances from the health secretary it would remain open, as well as most, if not all, surgical procedures by 2020. We have already lost our children’s A&E and women can no longer have a baby in our borough.
‘To add insult to injury, the investment in the remaining site is being cut with the existing hospital getting a “make do and mend” refurbishment rather than the new hospital we were promised.
‘There are no plans set out for three of the region’s hospitals including Charing Cross which is also under threat – we can only think this is a cynical divide-and-rule tactic to push these unpopular plans through.’
The organisation of the action needed to defeat the closure plans are central to the West London Council of Action Christmas Picket on Friday 23rd December from 7am-9am, and the All Trades Unions Alliance health conference on Saturday 11th February at Friends Meeting House in Euston.