Labour councillors at Kensington & Chelsea Council are demanding that the four threatened Accident and Emergency departments in North West London should stay open pending a complete rethink of plans that threaten the future of popular and well used hospitals.
This is in complete contrast to the Tories and Lib Dems who have backed the plan’s preferred option, which would close four out of the existing nine A&E departments. This is despite their concerns about the future of Charing Cross Hospital and the lack of transparency about timing.
Labour’s response to the proposals challenges the assurances by NHS NWL that although people would take longer journeys in emergencies they would get better care when they arrive.
The response says: ‘But some will die before they get there. Emergency treatment is both a basic and essential part of the NHS which no private sector organization can or wishes to provide. It must not be cut back in the way proposed’.
Labour is also concerned
- that closing A&E departments is the first step in the gradual closure of the hospitals affected
- that there will be extra pressure on the remaining hospitals
- that proposals to improve out of hospital care, though welcome, have not been properly thought through
- that Charing Cross Hospital must survive
- that many health professionals will lose their jobs, and
- that there has been no proper consultation.
Labour’s health spokesperson, Cllr Pat Healy says: ‘These plans are unconvincing and do not take into account the knock-on effects on hospitals that will continue and even be improved.
‘Kensington & Chelsea Council has accepted them because they do not adversely affect the two hospitals most used by local residents – St Mary’s and Chelsea and Westminster. But they will be put under increased pressure which St Mary’s in particular is not in a position to meet.’