A fortnight ago in the House of Commons I asked him to keep his promise not to close Hammersmith Hospital A&E until there was spare capacity in neighbouring hospitals and primary care services to cope. I wrote about that exchange here.
Earlier this week I tried again when Hunt was forced to come to the Commons to answer Andy Burnham’s Urgent Question on patient safety.
“I want to ask about the safety of the 22,000 patients who use HammersmithHospital A&E every year. There is no capacity or increase in the acute primary or community care services locally, which the Secretary of State set as a prerequisite for any A&E closures in west London. Will he ask Imperial Healthcare Trust to review plans to close the A&E at Hammersmith. Will he answer that question, as my constituents in Shepherds Bush and White City deserve an answer to it, and not the spin and the game playing that I always get from the Secretary of State?”
Once again he did not even attempt to address the question. Hunt said when announcing the closure 30 October 2013 it would only close when practicable, ie that alternative services were in place. We oppose the closure but thought at least he would honour this commitment.
But Imperial at their last board meeting conceded there were already too few beds at St Mary’s – where all Hammersmith patients will be told to go – and the primary care budgets for H&F are actually being cut as money is moved from inner to outer London.
The Fulham Gazette got the same evasive response when they door-stepped Hunt and asked him about the closure of Charing Cross’ A&E.
So the Save our Hospitals campaign continues. Next up on 5th of July is a rally and party. We will start at 2pm on Fulham Palace Road across from Charing Cross Hospital, and will move to nearby Frank Banfield Park for entertainment, stalls and birthday cake - the NHS is 66. I hope you can join us.
Meanwhile the new Labour council has entered intensive negotiations with Imperial to try and save the borough’s A&Es, calling for them to respect the outcome of the election, the lack of emergency beds and the need for a genuine consultation with the people of west London.