Politicians have been giving their reaction to the publication of the Independent Healthcare Commission’s report of NHS plans in north west London.
It called for an "immediate halt" to the NHS’s Shaping a Healthier Future programme (SaHF) and suggested legal action take place if the plans do not stop.
The report, which was delivered by commission chairman Michael Mansfield QC on Wednesday at the Royal Festival Hall on Southbank, was commissioned by Labour-run councils Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham Hounslow, Brent and Harrow. That has led to some to call into doubt the independence of the commission.
Here’s what they had to say
Stephen Cowan , Labour Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council:
“People across west London have been horrified to see their treasured NHS deteriorating so quickly – and so unnecessarily. They have protested, sent in petitions and begged local health chiefs to stop this madness, and are furious that local NHS bosses have ignored them for so long. My council colleagues shared this anger, commissioning the Independent Healthcare Commission, and in doing so keeping our pledge to fight for local health services.
“Today’s report from Michael Mansfield QC is a watershed moment.
"Rigorous, thorough, detailed and rightly independent, the review provides indisputable evidence that these changes to local health services are badly planned, hugely costly and causing life-threatening failures in local healthcare.
"The only sane decision is to put a halt to them right now.”
Greg Smith , Conservative Leader of Opposition at Hammersmith & Fulham Council:
“My gut reaction is we will want to look at the findings of the review very closely.
“As to whether it’s independent or not, we’ll look at who the people they spoke to were, if they listened to evidence the Conservatives’ put in through Cllr Andrew Brown (the group’s health spokesperson who spoke to the commission), or if they just listened to evidence from sources from one side of the argument.
“The most important thing to do is to properly understand what clinicians are saying can save lives and help help deliver the best healthcare.
“I absolutely and intrinsically believe in listening to the opinions of doctors and healthcare professionals over what a judge says.”
Greg Hands , Conservative Chelsea and Fulham MP
“This is a matter for the NHS and the Imperial Trust to defend their proposals for Charing Cross, Hammersmith and St Mary’s Hospitals.
“Though I am not aware of Michael Mansfield’s strong back ground in healthcare, I will read his report.”
Andy Slaughter , Labour Hammersmith MP:
“This an authoritative report that exposes the many failings of the ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ programme which is already heavily delayed and in financial difficulty. Hammersmith & Fulham and the other councils deserve our thanks for exposing the fatal flaws in these plans. I hope this will make Jeremy Hunt see sense and go back to the drawing board. The plans to demolish Charing Cross Hospital have never looked more reckless and dangerous.”
Andrew Brown , Conservative opposition spokesperson for health and adult care at Hammersmith and Fulham, who gave evidence to the commission:
“Of course I will review the document in detail and if there’s a legitimate points raised by the commission it’s quite right the NHS addresses the concerns.
“The commission appears to be a mechanism that the council will probably use to try to seek a judicial review. I hoped that rather than opposing SaHF, it would have come up with alternative proposals that meets their concerns, and addresses the important reasons SaHF has been put together.
“There is also a significant lack of clarity and potentially misleading over A&E issues at Charing Cross.
"As far as I’m concerned there will be and should be an A&E at Charing Cross and I think it’s very important for the NHS to be extremely clear on that.”