Health chiefs have launched an inquiry into ‘unprecedented’ long waits for patients at Northwick Park Hospital’s swamped A&E following the closure of two other units.

One council leader said the reconfiguration of north-west London’s acute health services, known as Shaping A Healthier Future and jointly conducted by the now-defunct Primary Care Trusts, had been ‘botched’ and that he and his colleagues would ‘demand answers’.

Since the A&Es at Central Middlesex Hospital in Park Royal and Hammersmith Hospital in East Acton closed on September 10, consistently more than one in four visitors to Northwick Park Hospital in Watford Road, Harrow, fail to be seen by staff within the government’s four hour target, NHS England’s figures reveal.

For the week ending November 16 this year, the figure dropped as low as 68 per cent seen within four hours.

Northwick Park Hospital chiefs launch 'unprecedented' inquiry into A&E waiting times following closures  

Tina Benson, director of operations at London North West Healthcare Trust, said: “We are working closely with the Shaping a Healthier Future programme to review the original modelling that was used for the planned reconfiguration of A&E services in North West London.”

GV's Harrow: Northwick Park Hospital, Watford Road, Harrow.

Labour’s MP for Harrow West, Gareth Thomas, said: “Northwick Park Hospital has seen an unprecedented increase in demand following the closure of nearby A&E departments, and it is clear that it is not able to cope with this.

“Twenty-five per cent of patients have had to wait more than four hours for treatment in the nine weeks since the closures, and more than 250 patients were forced to wait in ambulances before even being able to enter A&E in September alone.”

Gareth Thomas MP

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission rated the A&E as “requiring improvement” and demanded increased staffing.

The trust launched a recruitment drive for medical staff at what it modestly describes as a ‘busy’ emergency department where ‘exciting things are happening’.

Brent Council’s scrutiny committee was due to meet yesterday (Wednesday) evening to look into the situation including why the opening of the £21million replacement A&E building, now expected on December 10, has been delayed three times.

Boris faces calls to extend bus routes to Harrow's Northwick Park Hospital after A&E closures  

Councillor Muhammed Butt, Brent council leader, said: “Our worst fears about the effects of closing local A&Es before the expansion of Northwick Park was ready have come true.

“Immediate action needs to be taken to resolve this as we are talking about life and death emergency treatment. We will be demanding answers from NHS bosses.

Leader of Brent Council, Muhammed Butt adressing the Brent Pensioners Forum AGM.

“Our residents deserve the best healthcare and we need to understand why the reconfiguration of local health services has been botched so badly and get answers about how the trust plans to improve the care they offer urgently.”

A spokeswoman for Community Voice, a grass roots NHS watchdog for north-west London, said: “I would be concerned about the wellbeing of local residents.

“There is an issue with the capacity of the new A&E building that needs to be looked at together with arrangements between A&E and the admissions team, and what the four-hour wait target actually covers.”