Monday, 14 January 2013

19th Feb: Hammer to fall on Hammersmith Hospital

An execution date has been set for our local NHS, with the NW London NHS Primary Care Trusts group, authors of a North Korean style "consultation", described as "fatally flawed" by a former NHS Chief, holding a meeting to agree the final cuts. Appropriately enough they will be meeting at Methodist Central Hall, which is a grand Victorian building, so the pronouncement of death will take place in a suitably sombre environment.

The end result will be all Accident & Emergency services in Hammersmith & Fulham being closed, with emergency cases having to be ferried greater distances to central Middlesex or Chelsea & Westminster hospitals instead. And as we know there is never much traffic on the way to either of those destinations.

This is of course a process which was designed in a way to pit local hospitals against each other, and despite the very welcome cross party nature of opposition to that, involving a Labour MP and a Tory Council, some hospitals pretty shamefully actively campaigned for the closure of their fellow hospitals, using tax payers money to do so. Chelsea & Fulham MP Greg Hands, who represents Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, sadly seemed happy to turn a blind eye to that sort of behaviour by his hospital, which weakened the local coalition.

NHS NW London has still refused to answer questions about the financial interests many involved with the group have with the proposed new arrangements. Specifically the Guardian reported recently that parts of the NHS estate will be sold of to property developers who will in turn make vast profits. And guess which companies some of those involved in making these decisions, particularly local GPs, have shares in 

The Save our Hospitals campaign has had some difficulty in persuading local GPs to sign up to the campaign, although many have now done so, giving the lie to NHS NW London's claim to have universal support from them.

Campaigners tell me there will be a local demonstration on 16th Feb and people from across London will be attending a mass demo outside Methodist Central Hall on the 19th. I'm sure they'd love to see you there, email for further details.

Finally, let's remind ourselves of the sort of people running this sham - here's possibly one of the most disastrous television appearances I have ever seen from Dr Mark Spencer, leader of the bureaucrats wanting to wield the axe. Appearing on the BBC Politics Show he was both untruthful and disingenuous, and frankly arrogant, arguing that non clinical people should just accept that people like him knew best. That led his fellow studio guests, including a former Health Minister, to suggest that he represented a lack of "credible leadership", and that people like him should "get down from their high horse". Ouch.

He's since retreated back into the shadows, so not much chance of that. But people wishing to send a similar message to the great man may wish to pencil Feb 19th into their diaries.

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