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Children's inpatient services at Ealing Hospital to close

A petition has been launched to save children's inpatient services at Ealing Hospital after it was announced that they would be closed

Children's inpatient services will be closed within the year at Ealing Hospital, it has been confirmed.

A petition to save the service has been started by "outraged" Southall MP Virendra Sharma, after he received the formal confirmation, on Friday (July 25), from the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy hunt.

Mr Sharma asked what plans the Tory health department had for the local children’s unit, and received the answer that current services would end on June 30 2016.

The closure is part of a new programme called Shaping a Healthier Future which is being rolled out across north-west London Hospitals NHS Trust.

It is claimed that this ‘transformation of care’ across the eight north-west London boroughs (Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster) will save hundreds of lives each year.

The vision is being driven forward by the eight clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), made up of GPs from the north-west London boroughs.

Mr Sharma said: “Over the seven years I have been the MP here, I have countless times helped raise money to improve the local children’s ward.

“Within the last few years, the local community have raised money for a special play area on the roof of the hospital, and I am now appalled to discover that this time and energy has been wasted.

“This heartless Tory government are closing a popular local service, and moving the care of our community’s children further from their homes.

“I am outraged that this has been done with so little local consultation, and against the wishes of residents.”

Southall MP Virendra Sharma

Mr Sharma has started a petition on the new government website, which he is asking all Ealing residents to sign, to make clear local opposition to the reduction in services.

Frontrunner for Mayor of London, Rt Hon Tessa Jowell, was one of the first to sign the petition.

A spokesman for the Shaping a Healthier Future programme said: “Paediatric inpatient services at Ealing Hospital are due to close at the end of June 2016, although the majority of paediatric activity will remain at Ealing Hospital and elsewhere in the borough.

“All out-patient services, including day-case, those for children with additional needs, child and adolescent mental health services will continue unchanged. There will also be enhancements to some of these services, as well as the introduction of a new seven-day-a-week Rapid Access Clinic to enable same-day specialist paediatric consultation.

“There are also plans to keep both children’s wards at Ealing Hospital in use – the outpatients ward has already moved to another area of the building and the day unit will move to the vacated inpatient unit – so local people can be assured that any charitable funds they have generously raised will continue to be used for local children.

“The closure of paediatric inpatient services at Ealing Hospital was consulted on as part of the on-going Shaping a Healthier Future programme, and a decision about the timing was made earlier this year in public.

“To ensure that patients receive the best possible care, seven days-a-week, units need to be staffed properly, and this can be done by concentrating in-patient paediatric care into a smaller number of units.”

This comes just a month after Ealing Hospital's maternity unit was closed among ferocious opposition from local residents, campaigners and councillors.

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