ANOTHER ward at Ealing Hospital is set to close as the axe hovers ever closer over the site's stroke unit.
Health bosses plan to shut down the gastro-endocrinology ward, which includes patients suffering from stomach illnesses, later this year. Patients needing gastro-intestinal care would receive treatment in other wards or be processed via short-stay treatment at the hospital.
Campaigners are already fighting to save the stroke ward, which is set to close on July 19.
A statement from Ealing NHS Trust said: "Health care is changing and the best modern treatment for our patients often means just a short stay in hospital. Reducing the length of stay in hospital means that we will shortly be able to reduce the number of medical beds by 30, enabling us to make the best possible use of our resources to look after local people.
"Medical sub-specialities, such as gastro-intestinal care, will continue to have access to dedicated beds on other wards. Our patients will be cared for by the same specialist doctors and nursing staff in gastro-endocrinology services as before."
A member of staff on the ward, who did not want to be identified said: "They made this announcement in early April and its got us very worried. The thing we're most worried about is what will happen to the patients. Some of them are very ill and they really need dedicated care on this ward."
Colin Standfield, chair of Ealing Hospital SOS, a group dedicated to fighting cuts, said: "It's always possible to downgrade services and to give vague promises that quality will not be affected.
"We need to see a plan showing a commitment to, in this case, gastro-endocrinology that goes beyond dispersing patients across a range of available beds. Once you have lopped out one branch you might as well prune the whole tree."