THE GAUNTLET has been thrown down on hospital demolition plans with health bosses told to ‘think again’, said Hammersmith & Fulham Council yesterday.
The A&E’s at Hamersmith and Central Middlesex hospitals are to be closed on September 10.
A delegation from Hammersmith & Fulham Council has met with health chiefs to demand that they halt plans to completely demolish Charing Cross Hospital and replace local A&Es.
New council leader, Cllr Stephen Cowan, criticised ‘the lack of clinical evidence’ behind the immediate plan to close Hammersmith A&E and said that the Board of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust had ‘demonstrated a complete failure to carry out their duties to robustly scrutinise that decision before they signed it off’.
He said: ‘This raises serious doubts about the capacity of Imperial’s management and board to take on the extra freedoms and responsibilities that their bid to move to a foundation hospital would allow.’
Cllr Cowan announced he has commissioned a review of Imperial’s bid to be a foundation hospital and said he would be announcing its findings in September.
On June 21 the health officials announced that they intend to start the hospitals downgrading process by closing Hammersmith Hospital’s A&E on September 10.
Board minutes show that not one member of the board questioned this decision despite the same board papers claiming that St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington was already at full capacity.
Council health officials have started a six-week publicity campaign that will run over the school summer holidays and is intended to inform local residents that they will close Central Middlesex Hospital A&E and Hammersmith Hospital A&E simultaneously on September 10.
Cllr Cowan called the decision to employ the Saatchi advertising agency to mount a publicity campaign to publicise the closures ‘shocking’ and ‘reckless’.
He added: ‘This is another example of how they are treating the residents whose taxes pay their salaries with absolute contempt.’