Saturday, 31 May 2014

Hammersmith Hospital A&E to close as urgent care centre expanded


Hammersmith Hospital's AandE is set to close on September 10 as part of a programme to 'improve health services in north west London'.
Hammersmith Hospital's A&E will close on September 10, 2014
Hammersmith Hospital's emergency department will close in September this year, it was announced yesterday.
The hospital's governing body, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, confirmed on Thursday (May 29) the hospital's A&E department will be closing on September 10, 2014.
The news comes after Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, agreed in October last year that the department would close as part of a major programme said to improve health services in north west London.
Central Middlesex's emergency department will also close on the same day, meaning the closest A&E will be St Mary's Hospital in Paddington.
Hammersmith Hospital's 12-hour urgent care centre is set to be enhanced and expanded to open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to compensate for the loss.
Patients with urgent but not life-threatening illnesses and injuries will be seen there, with the hospital saying more than half of patients currently attending Hammersmith's emergency department are seen there now.
The announcement comes as a blow for Hammersmith and Fulham's residents and politicians involved in the Save Our Hospital's campaign.
Hammersmith MP, Andy Slaughter said: "We knew this day was going to come but the way they have gone about it is totally unacceptable.
"The fact they're closing the two hospitals at the same time means they clearly don't want people to go from one to the other. They obviously don't want people to go to Charing Cross as they didn't even mention it and are knocking it down, so the only local alternative is St Mary's.
"For the people who live in the north west of the borough such as White City and Old Oak, Hammersmith Hospital's A&E is essential. It's also one of the poorest parts of London, with low car ownership and a much lower life expectancy than richer areas so an A&E is essential."
A spokeswoman from Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust told getwestlondon the changes, led by clinicians, will benefit local people and are intended to provide more local care wherever possible and to concentrate specialist services were necessary to increase quality and safety.
She said: "In time for the closure, the current 12-hour urgent care centre at Hammersmith Hospital will be enhanced and expanded, opening 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and other hospitals locally with a major emergency department will prepare for additional patients.
“The Trust’s main priority is patient care and safety and detailed planning for these changes is underway. No changes will be made until we are sure that everything is in place for a smooth transfer to the new arrangements and that a safe, high quality emergency care system is in place.”
Mr Slaughter added that he was unhappy there was not any scrutiny over the decision and said it was just pushed through.
Patients suspected of having a heart attack will continue to be taken straight to Hammersmith Hospital which has one of London's eight 24/7 heart attack centres.
Ambulances from September 10 will take patients to the most appropriate service for their needs.


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