|Hammersmith Hospital on Du Cane Road: New Super-Hospital?|
The hospital, based in Paddington, is a landmark hospital and teaching facillity which has a proud history of advancing medical science - it is where Alexander Fleming invented penicillin, for example, earning him a Nobel prize.
The proposal, which has been leaked to the press, is that the hospital be knocked down and the land sold off for luxury flats. Sound familiar anyone?
Quite apart from the political firestorm this is likely to start, as St Mary's is one of the leading teaching hospitals in the UK, the main implication for H&F is that Imperial College Healthcare Trust is apparently minded to move the services currently at St Mary's into Hammersmith Hospital in East Acton/Shepherd's Bush. What this would mean for local residents at first sight is not that bad - a bigger and better hospital. But consider it would be bringing huge numbers of patients and people with it, onto what until now have been quiet streets adjoining the hospital and Wormwood Scrubs prison, and you begin to see how the area would be transformed.
|Charing Cross Hospital - set for closure?|
The politics of this are that Andrew Lansley, the Secretary of State for Health, has placed a moratorium on any further hospital closures. This, you might remember, came in response to attacks from Labour about how the Tories want to privatise the NHS, which they vehemently deny. The truth, as ever, is somewhere in between. The brutal fact is that Imperial Healthcare Trust is £100 million in debt and is basically bankrupt - so how long can it realistically hold on to the three sites?
But these plans which the Indie is reporting seem very well advanced and it is clear that something is afoot. Whatever they turn into as far as Hammersmith Hospital in Shepherd's Bush is concerned, it is likely to transform one of the quietest areas of the Bush forever.
0850 UPDATE - Andy Slaughter MP has sent me this response (complete with pic!) to this story:
"We are fortunate to have three of the best hospitals in the country serving local people. That is something we should be proud to maintain and improve. Labour invested millions in the local NHS, now the Tories are proposing to close one or even two local hospitals. Cameron’s promise that the NHS would not be cut is exposed as the most blatant piece of trickery".
I have asked the Council for comment but they have not replied as yet.
1500 UPDATE - Imperial Healthcare Trust have just released the following statement rubbishing the Independent's report:
"Following media coverage today, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust would like to categorically deny that we have any plans to close St Mary's Hospital or any of our hospital sites".
"We have not engaged any firms of architects to look at our estate with a view to converting it into residential properties".
"We would like to reassure all patients and staff that providing the highest quality clinical care across all our sites remains our absolute priority".