New options for the future of Charing Cross Hospital include creating a ‘centre of excellence’ for non-emergency elective surgery.
NHS commissioners have agreed to look at the latest additions to proposals for the hospital in Fulham Palace Road, Fulham, to be become a ‘specialist health and social care hospital’ on a smaller portion of the site.
They have been drawn up by Hammersmith and Fulham Council together with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, as an alternative to original NHS plans to downgrade Charing Cross to a ‘local hospital’ and strip it of its A&E. The council says under new proposals, Charing Cross would continue to cater for more than 80 per cent of its current cases. Elective surgery patients could be relocated from St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington.
Councillor Marcus Ginn, cabinet member for community care, and council leader Nick Botterill discussed the plans with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Wednesday (September 18).
Labour MP for Hammersmith, Andy Slaughter, who delivered signed postcards from opponents at Save Our Hospitals campaign to Mr Hunt last week, said this option would be better than closing the hospital but would still result in fewer beds and no full emergency services.
He said: "This is another cynical attempt to muddy the water about the future of the hospital and claim credit for ‘saving’ the hospital. To be clear, Hammersmith & Fulham Care Commissioning Group and the council do not support a hospital on the Charing Cross Hospital site; they only support an investigation into having additional primary care and treatment facilities on 13 per cent of the site."
Mr Ginn said: “We have always said that negotiation is the best way of securing the hospital’s future rather than costly legal action which was always doomed to failure and could have potentially left us with very little. Through negotiation, the list of services planned continues to expand.”
Mark Davies, chief executive of Imperial, described his vision for ‘innovative 21st century healthcare’.
"A hospital that specialises in performing high-volume, routine procedures will enable us to significantly improve the quality of elective surgery in west London, providing very real benefits for our patients,” he added.
A spokeswoman for Shaping a Healthier Future could not confirm whether a second public consultation would take place over the new proposals, but added: “None of these proposals has yet been finalised and we continue to engage with our stakeholders. Our door remains open for further dialogue.”