Published 25 March 2015
A full day of evidence was presented to the Independent Health Commission, set up to investigate the impact of past and proposed changes to healthcare in west London, on Saturday, 21 March.
Ealing’s contributors included a hospital consultant, local doctors, a midwife from Ealing Hospital, residents and representatives from Ealing Healthwatch and Ealing Save Our NHS Action Group.
Local politicians also gave evidence including: Stephen Pound MP; Dr Onkar Sahota, GLA Assembly Member, Councillor Julian Bell, leader of the council; and Councillor Hitesh Tailor, cabinet member for adults, health and well-being.
The commission, which is led by Barrister Michael Mansfield QC, was set up by Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham and Hounslow councils, which have raised serious concerns about the scale, speed and safety of the changes and the ability of the remaining services to cope with the extra demand. It is the largest reorganisation ever undertaken in NHS history.
The changes reviewed included the closures of A&Es at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex hospitals last September, as well as plans to demolish Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals, replacing them with much smaller hospitals. Other aspects considered were the changes to maternity services in Ealing, which will mean that women will no longer be able to give birth in Ealing Hospital.
The Independent Health Commission is creating a detailed picture by taking a wide range of evidence into account, including examining the facts and figures, as well as personal accounts from patients and healthcare professionals. The session held in Ealing was the second out of four public evidence-gathering sessions being held between March – May.
Councillor Bell said: “We all know how important our local health services are and so it was really important to bring such a diverse group of experts together and watch them provide their evidence to the commission.
“It was good to see our residents supporting this by listening to the information presented to the commission. I would encourage anyone with an interest in finding out more to go along to either the Hounslow or Brent sessions.”
The commission also examines the impact of the NHS’s decision to change hospital services in the area, including A&E and maternity.