Spokesmen for NHS and Council Defend Hospital Deal

"This decision will save lives and improve care dramatically"

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Spokesmen for NHS North West London and Hammersmith and Fulham Council have defended plans for local hospitals which include closing A & E units and demolishing Charing Cross and replacing it with a much smaller centre.

As Dr Mark Spencer, Medical Director for the plans, called Shaping a Healthier Future, claims they would save lives and improve health services in H&F by providing the highest quality of care at a new specialist hospital that integrates primary, secondary, community, mental health and social care at Charing Cross.

He says the vast majority of NHS NWL patients will continue to be treated exactly where they are now – but with better care, better staffed hospitals and better custom-built sites.

He adds: " This decision will save lives and improve care dramatically. This is the best decision for a clinically safe, high quality and financially secure future for all the hospitals and NHS trusts in North West London.

"There are urgent and pressing needs to make these changes. If we do nothing people will continue to die unnecessarily and services will fail."

A team of local clinicians identified additional out of hospital clinical services that should be hosted at the hospital including:
- A primary, secondary and social care hub for the local population, integrating primary with community and social care for elderly patients and those with long-term conditions
- A diagnostics service, comprising X-ray, Ultrasound, CT and MRI scanning, endoscopy and ECG
- An ambulatory cancer care centre, including delivery of radiotherapy and chemotherapy and the continued presence of Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre
- A renal service centre, including delivery of dialysis
- A potential addition of step up/down beds
- Retention of Imperial College teaching facilities

NHS NWL has also confirmed a change in tack on emergency services at the hospital - which will retain a 24/7 emergency facility with ability to admit patients.

The Urgent Care Centre will be virtually identical to Lewisham's re-modelled A&E and the hospital will continue to treat at least 85% of H&F patients who are currently seen at Charing Cross.

NHS NWL said 385,000 patients will continue to attend Charing Cross, compared to 455,000 now.

There will be an increase in numbers from 50,000 to 65,000 for those attending the Urgent Care Centre, and an increase of 30,000 to 40,000 for those attending specialist renal and cancer care, according to NHS NWL.

There will be 10,000 attending ante natal and post natal care compared to no patients for these services now. There will be 15,000 attending therapy services, and 15,000 staying in community beds, compared to none now in both cases.

All 80,000 who attend for diagnostics will continue to do so. All 10,000 who attend for sexual health services will continue to do so.

150,000 outpatients will attend, compared to 200,000 now

The numbers which will no longer attend are in A&E (35,000 currently), critical care (5,000 currently) and elective admissions (45,000 currently).

Currently H&F residents who call 999 with a heart attack are taken to Hammersmith Hospital; residents suffering from a major trauma (e.g. car crash) are taken to St. Mary’s in Paddington and children are taken to Chelsea & Westminster. It is understood that the plans to retain a hospital at Charing Cross would not affect these arrangements.

Cllr Marcus Ginn, H&F Council’s cabinet member for health and social care, is also defending the deal the council has struck with the NHS over the future of Charing Cross.

He says: "The campaign has secured major concessions for Charing Cross which has essentially secured its future. According to the NHS' own figures, 85% of people will continue to use the hospital in the normal way.

"We have secured more than £80million of investment in Charing Cross, we haven't got everything, but what we do have is a viable specialist hospital that will continue to cater for the vast majority of local health needs.

“Anyone who ignores the clinical evidence from doctors and suggests that hospitals should never evolve is playing a very dangerous game that could ultimately cost lives. The council is not prepared to play that game as we have a duty to secure improvements to health care that protect local people.”

February 20, 2013