Thursday, 14 February 2013

Hospital campaign accuses Council of "betrayal"

Hammersmith Hospital: doomed under Council/NHS plans
H&F Council, who splurged serious cash this week to deliver glossy leaflets to every house in the borough trumpeting what they regard as their success in saving Charing Cross Hospital, stands accused of betraying the community by campaigners working to save both hospitals in the borough.

Here's an open letter from Save our Hospitals campaign chair Carlo Nero:

"Until last week, the resident-led campaign to save Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals thought it was fighting for the same cause as the council. We now feel deeply betrayed by our elected representatives who have meekly given in to NHS bosses at the eleventh hour without any prior consultation with the community whatsoever. 

The fact is Charing Cross would be reduced to 10% of its current size. Instead of a full-service A&E able to take blue-light emergency cases, we will be left with a GP-run ‘urgent care centre’ equipped to treat only minor procedures.

Gone too would be Charing Cross’s intensive care unit and associated specialist acute services. 500 in-patient beds would be reduced to only 60 beds. As in the original proposals all acute services would go from Charing Cross

Yes, we are told the £20-30 million that NHS North West London had originally proposed for new primary care services would be increased to £60-90m. But this is a fraction of what Imperial NHS Trust stands to realise from the sale of the remainder of the site. 

And what is the use of better primary care if, when you fall sick and are desperately in need of specialist treatment, you can’t get access to a consultant or a bed because most of the hospital has been demolished?

Worse, we now hear that Hammersmith Hospital, whose A&E we have also been fighting to save, is not even going to get an Urgent Care Centre. Instead, it will become a referral hospital with no walk-in facility whatsoever. 

We’re not opposed to change on any terms, but even with a few bells and whistles added this is still the same Option A that we have been opposing for months –and it is disingenuous to claim otherwise. 

As we saw in Lewisham there are always alternatives and there is every reason to believe we can obtain a far better deal if we continue to exert pressure together as a community. That is why we are continuing our campaign and urge residents, doctors, patients and health workers to join our rally this Saturday, 12 noon, in Lyric Square". 

Yours faithfully

Carlo Nero
Chair – Save Our Hospitals – Hammersmith and Charing Cross campaign 

The Council is welcome to respond ... and unlike the printers and deliverers of their glossy leaflets I won't charge the taxpayer a penny!

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