CAMPAIGN group Ealing Save Our NHS will protest outside Ealing Town Hall tomorrow morning against a new business plan.
The Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) was released by NHS North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups (NWLCCG) in October, but they are meeting tomorrow to discuss it.
The plan will see the transformation of Ealing Hospital from a ‘major’ hospital, to a ‘local’ one, meaning the 24/7 Accident and Emergency (A&E) service will be reduced, along with emergency surgery, intensive care and others.
Ealing Council leader Julian Bell said: “Ealing Hospital provides excellent acute hospital services to some of the most deprived populations in north west London and people need to have access to an A&E.
“People will have to travel much further to support loved ones in hospital, and time spent in an ambulance will be greater, meaning there will be a larger risk of people dying.”
This is also planned for Charing Cross, leading Hammersmith and Fulham council to also reject the proposal.
This remains consistent with Jeremy Hunt’s 2013 plans to ‘Shape a Healthier Future’ which has been criticised by Ealing Save Our NHS for decreasing hospital A&E performance across the region.
However, the plan also says that resources will be pumped into the area, with £500m being earmarked to improve NHS buildings and facilities across west London over the next ten years.
Ealing Save Our NHS campaigner Eric Leach said: “We find the business case to be inadequate.
“I find it hard to believe H.M. Treasury will release hundreds of millions of pounds to an organization which has failed to successfully implement Shaping a Healthier Future over the last three years.”
Yet the NWLCCG say the plan will actually see major improvement to health facilities in the area.
A NWLCCG spokesperson said: “This investment would make sure we continue to improve the services local people use the most at Ealing Hospital and across the borough.
“This will be supported by rapid access to 24/7 specialist support at nearby hospitals when they need it.”
While Ealing Hospital will no longer take ambulances, the spokesperson said all minor urgent care and emergency services will remain available.
Only those more serious problems – such as strokes and heart attacks – will be taken to specialist A&E units in London, where they can deal with these more effectively.
The spokesperson said that this will actually save lives, as people will receive specialist care straight away.
Chelsea & Westminster, West Middlesex, Northwick Park, Hillingdon and St Mary’s hospitals will still have full A&Es, with planned expansion for West Middlesex and Hillingdon.
Alongside these hospitals, Hammersmith will undertake emergency surgery with intensive care.
St Mary’s and Northwick Park have specialist stroke centres, St Mary’s and Hammersmith have specialist heart attack centres and St Mary’s also has one of four major trauma units in London.
The plan also emphasises the need to help people closer to home, with a planned investment of £69m into GP practices.
The business plan is still subject to assurance from NHS England in January.
Ealing Save Our NHS will protest outside Ealing Town Hall on Wednesday, December 14 from 8:15am-8:55am.