Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Report calls for “immediate halt” of NHS plans which saw A&E and maternity ward closures

The Independent Healthcare Commission, which has been criticised in some quarters, says legal action should be taken if the NHS’s Shaping a Healthier Future continues

Michael Mansfield QC chaired the Independent Healthcare Commission (Pic: Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)

A long-awaited report has damned controversial NHS plans in north west London which resulted in the closure of A&Es at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex Hospitals and thematernity unit at Ealing .
The Independent Healthcare Commission called for the “deeply flawed” NHS West London’s Shaping a Healthier Future (SaHF) plans to be “halted immediately”.
The commission also suggested legal challenges take place if the plans do not stop.
The report by the commission, chaired by Michael Mansfield QC, also calls for the decision to close the units at Central Middlesex and Ealing hospitals to be reversed and for A&E units at Charing Cross and Ealing to retain full services for the foreseeable future.
Ealing Hospital

The report was commissioned by Labour-run authorities a year ago (December 2014), drawing criticism by opponents that it is not independent and politically motivated .
Mr Mansfield is launching his report at the Royal Festival Hall on Southbank this lunchtime (December 2).
There are fears that further down-grading of Ealing Hospital will follow along with the closure and sale of some of Charing Cross .
In his report, Mr Mansfield says: “The findings of the Independent Healthcare Commission for North West London are stark - the reforms, both proposed and implemented thus far, are deeply flawed.
"There is no realistic prospect of achieving good quality accessible healthcare for all, and any further implementation is likely to exacerbate a deteriorating situation.
“Our recommendations are equally stark. It is the view of the Commission that the Shaping a Healthier Future programme should be halted immediately, and that the affected councils should consider a legal challenge if it is taken forward in the current circumstances.”
Charing Cross Hospital

The report says costs of the SaHF stands at £1 billion, and does not represent good value for money, while deprived communities feel the brunt of the changes.
It also says there were inadequate alternative provisions in place to deal with the closed NHS facilities and that an increasing population requires an increasing need for services.
Detailing the issues, it calls for a substantial investment to be made in GP and out-of-hospital services.
Mr Mansfield is critical too of the government, adding: “In so many ways, the catalogue of failings, missed opportunities and profligacy we have seen in North West London act as a microcosm of a wider malaise across the English NHS.
"As such, though this report focuses on the NHS in North West London, it should act as a warning call to the top of government.”
The report was commissioned by Hamersmith and Fulham, Ealing , Brent, Hounslow and Harrow Councils.
Get West London


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