The decision to close Ealing Hospital’s children’s ward has been rubber stamped by health officials after they decided it would be safe to proceed.
It was confirmed by Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) following its governing body meeting held in Greenford on Wednesday afternoon (May 18), where campaigners gathered outside to protest the decision .
The decision means the in patient children’s ward at the hospital, known as the Charlie Chaplin ward, will close on June 30.
Other reforms voted through by Ealing CCG mean ambulances will no longer take children to the A&E unit at the hospital, in Uxbridge Road, Southall.
Changes have been made and are being made by a series of CCGs , made up of GPs in north west London boroughs, which launched the programme Shaping a Healthier Future (SaHF) in 2012.
The programme resulted in the closure of Ealing Hospital’s maternity ward , and A&E units at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex hospitals .
Watch Ealing Hospital campaigners take their battle to Westminster earlier this month
There is also grave concern over the future of emergency unit at Charing Crossing in Hammersmith.
Children will still be treated at the 24/7 Urgent Care Centre , and those requiring day care and outpatient care will be seen at the hospital as normal.
Specialist advice and timed appointments
Ealing CCG also says the introduction of the Rapid Access Clinic will provide GPs with “specialist advice and timed appointments for children needing to see a specialist within 48 hours”.
But Oliver New, chairman of Ealing Save Our NHS, labelled the decision to close Charlie Chaplin as “disgusting” and said it endangered the lives of young people.
Speaking to getwestlondon he said: “There will mean there are no paediatric consultants based at Ealing. That means if a child goes to Ealing A&E there’s no back up or specialists to see the child.
'It's unsafe despite everything they've said and it undermines the A&E'
“So the ambulance won’t take children to Ealing A&E, they will take them elsewhere, but most kids get taken in by families. The problem is they will be hanging around waiting for transport to take them somewhere else but it won’t be an ambulance.
“They will be waiting for hospital transport which could take quite some time. Then they will have to queue to be seen at the A&E elsewhere. There could be quite long delays.”
And he said the future of the hospital was ultimately at stake: “It’s disgusting. It’s unsafe despite everything they said and it undermines the A&E because it will be an adult-only A&E.
“They have closed all the different services that need A&E, and it means there’s nothing to stop the government from downgrading the A&E.
“It means they’re clearing the decks if you like. Once you close A&E and take away specialist staff it’s no longer a specialist hospital.
“In order to do this they have to make assurances that it’s safe and OK but its hugely reduced services which will impact on communities that live nearby.”
Charlie Chaplin ward contains 16 beds, including four day assessment beds, and cares for 10 to 12 children at any one time for those requiring emergency treatment or an overnight stay in hospital
Last year a report led by Michael Mansfield QC called for an immediate halt to changes made under SaHF.