Eight Labour MPs have sent a letter to the secretary of state for health, saying he must stop further hospital closures to prevent a bigger crisis
Labour politicians have dramatically urged the government to halt any west London A&E closures in the wake of the current crisis and critical reports of most west London hospital trusts.
A total of eight west and north west London MPs sent health minister Jeremy Hunt a letter this morning (January 13) strongly asking him to stop any further closures or downgrading of A&E services at hospitals in the area.
Increasing waiting times and an overload of patients on A&Es across west London are highlighted in the letter in a bid to get Mr Hunt to change current plans under the Shaping a Healthier Future programme, which will include the selling-off of more than half of Charing Cross Hospital and half of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington.
Hammersmith and Central Middlesex hospitals’ A&Es were closed in September 2014 as part of the programme.
The MPs have used highly critical reports by the independent Care Quality Commission (CQC) of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and Northwick Park as examples of why they feel no further closures should go ahead.
All three reports said the hospitals - which under Imperial include St Mary’s, Hammersmith and Charing Cross Hospitals - required improvement, while St Mary’s A&E was rated as inadequate. Imperial has said this was due to cleanliness which has since been brought up to the correct standard.
In the letter, they say: “What makes this situation worse is that all these CQC inspections took place before the closure of Hammersmith and Central Middlesex Hospital A&Es on September 10. Every indictor shows that performance has deteriorated sharply since that date. The current situation is critical and needs urgent review.”
The most recent figures show Imperial missed the 95 per cent four-hour waiting time target for the 13th week in a row as of the last week of December.
London North West Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Northwick Park, Central Middlesex, Ealing and St Mark’s hospitals, had the worst waiting times in England for the most serious emergencies , with just 68 per cent of those patients being seen within four hours for the last 13 weeks of 2014.
The Labour MPs have written: “It is already clear that further closures, in particular of the A&E departments at Charing Cross and Ealing, and the demolition of Charing Cross with loss of all consultant emergency services and 336 of 360 inpatient beds, is unsustainable.
“As the Members of Parliament for most of the remaining major acute hospitals in west London we believe there should be no further closures or downgrading of A&E services here.
"Please assure us that your current plans, part of Shaping a Healthier Future, which amount to the biggest hospital closure programme in the history of the NHS, will not go ahead and that any future changes will be the subject of proper clinical assessment and full public consultation.”
Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter, added: “London MPs have had it up to here with David Cameron’s total failure to manage the NHS. Waiting times for A&E are skyrocketing while his government plan more closures and cuts to local services. Londoners can’t trust the Tories with the NHS.”
The eight Labour MPs who sent the letter are:
- Karen Buck, Westminster North MP
- Seema Malhotra, Feltham and Heston MP
- Barry Gardiner, Brent North MP
- John McDonnell, Hayes and Harlington MP
- Stephen Pound, Ealing North MP
- Virendra Sharma, Ealing Southall MP
- Andy Slaughter, Hammersmith MP
- Gareth Thomas, Harrow West MP
Getwestlondon has requested a reply from Mr Hunt.