Northwick Park hospital saw the worst A&E waiting times in the country in the last two weeks of October Picture: Google Street View
Patients in west London have the longest wait for A&E treatment in the country following the closure of two casualty units.
Each week hundreds wait for longer than the NHS target of four hours, as pressure has soared at the three nearest hospitals.
Critics say axing the casualty units at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex on September 10 has put other hospitals under “unbearable pressure”, with patient care suffering as a result.
Figures from NHS England reveal the trust that runs Northwick Park and Ealing hospitals was the worst in the country for A&E performance in the final two weeks of October.
In the week to October 19, it saw only 67.8 per cent of patients at its main accident and emergency departments within four hours, compared with the target of 95 per cent. The next week it was 73.3 per cent.
Over the fortnight, 1,455 patients waited more than four hours to be seen. Dr Onkar Sahota, chairman of the London Assembly health committee, said: “The closure of Central Middlesex and Hammersmith A&E units [has] left the remaining hospitals in north-west London breaking under the strain.
“It is now crystal clear that those cuts have turned a well performing NHS trust into one with the worst A&E waiting times in the country.” There were also problems at West Middlesex hospital in Isleworth where, since the A&E closures, 947 patients have waited more than four hours — an average of 135 a week. This is almost double the number for the same period last year.
Imperial College NHS Trust, which runs St Mary’s and Charing Cross, also saw its performance dip last month, in one week to 82 per cent.
Under the second phase of the Shaping A Healthier Future changes, Charing Cross’s A&E will not receive blue light emergency ambulances while Ealing’s A&E will be axed.
Hounslow and Richmond councils have issued a joint alert over the delays at West Middlesex.
A spokeswoman for London North West Hospitals Trust, which runs Northwick Park and Ealing, said: “The challenges we face in our A&E department are similar to those affecting other trusts in London.
“Agreed actions are in place to improve performance.”
A West Middlesex hospital spokesman said: “We have seen an overall increase in demand for our emergency services, but we believe this is attributable to a generalised seasonal increase … No direct link with the recent local closures has been established.”