Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Charing Cross: campaigners attack "pathetic offer"

House of Commons press conference 
At a crowded press conference in the House of Commons yesterday morning, campaigners from all over London met to announce a “Week of Action” in defence of hospitals across the capital. The meeting, which was covered by ITV London News, heard that after months of campaigning to defend individual hospitals a united effort was needed to defend health services from what campigners said was a concerted attack by a government intent on both cutting money and privatizing services.

Responding to last week’s claim by Hammersmith and Fulham Council that Charing Cross Hospital had been “saved”, chair of Save our Hospitals, Carlo Nero was blunt:
“Charing Cross has NOT been saved – contrary to the council spin that some reports have carried. This is a pathetic offer, which hardly improves on the original NHS proposal. Campaigning and pressure have got us this far, and we need to redouble our efforts, now that we will be fighting without council support. Everyone needs to come to our rally in Lyric Square in Hammersmith this Saturday, where we will show everybody that far from being a setback in our campaign this is a rallying cry which will simply make people all the more determined to Save our Hospitals.”
campaigners at the Commons
Our MP Andy Slaughter, who hosted the press conference, said:
“We have heard today from campaigns all over London how A&Es and other essential services are being closed down, yet NHS Trusts and government maintain that services will continue. Now we see our council has joined them in that deception. We must all campaign together to expose that lie. It is hugely disappointing that unlike Lewisham, our council is not backing the campaign , but with the support of residents, it will continue. Our rally on Saturday next, 16th February, is more important than ever. I appeal to everyone who cares about our health services in Hammersmith and Fulham to come to Lyric Square at noon on Saturday.”
But our Council are having none of it. Responding in part to these attacks Cllr Marcus Ginn, Cabinet Member for Community Services, has this to say:

"Let’s turn our minds back to four weeks ago. 

Charing Cross was effectively going to be closed as a recognisable hospital. Virtually all of its specialities would have gone. 

The site would have been reduced to little more than a beefed up health centre, otherwise laughably known as a ‘local hospital’. NHS North West London told us that what was left in terms of services could have pretty much gone into its existing gymnasium. For ‘local hospital’ read ‘virtual closure’. 

Now, thanks to the community campaign, we have secured £90million for the rebuilding of Charing Cross. It will be four times bigger than originally proposed, it will continue to be a teaching hospital, it will continue to offer cancer services and it will gain a new speciality helping thousands of elderly patients. 

According to NHS NWL, nine out of ten patients who live in the borough will continue to use the hospital.

Yes, you may have to go to other hospitals for specialist services but this is already the case. If you have a heart attack you go, by ambulance, to Hammersmith Hospital. Paediatrics go to Chelsea & Westminster, major trauma go to St.Mary’s, obstetrics go to Chelsea & Westminster. The days of a general hospital doing everything have gone. In their place we now have specialist centres with specialist care. 

As far as A&E is concerned, the majority of non-specialist emergencies will continue to be treated at Charing Cross. 
Most people accept that the NHS has to change given the huge increase in demand for healthcare and the rocketing costs. We knew that the status quo was not an option. As a council we were faced with a choice – do we continue campaigning to keep the hospital as it is, accepting that if we failed (as seemed incredibly likely) the hospital would be relegated to a tiny health centre? Or, do we enter dialogue with the NHS to try and secure the best outcome possible for our residents? We decided to do the latter and have secured a new £90million hospital as a result".
The debate continues...


  1. I just got a leaflet through the door claiming Charing Cross has been saved. How much are the council spending on propaganda ?

  2. I have had two leaflets fron the council in the last 12 hours, both claiming victory. Neither mentions the loss of 540 beds (60 instead of 600). What sort of victory is that? 60 beds for cancer services + A & E + specialist care for the elderly. Or have I missed something?