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'We won’t accept second-rate service' - Survey finds 'widespread opposition' against plans to change services at west London hospitals

The results were published one day before a rally takes place against changes to NHS services

An independent survey commissioned by Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham Council has found “widespread opposition to planned cuts” to hospital services.

The survey, led by BMG Research, canvassed views on health and social care services by asking 1,514 residents about NHS North West London's Shaping a Healthier Future plan.

The results, according to a spokesman for Ealing Council, “highlight overpowering evidence that NHS plans lack the support of local people”.

Ealing Hospital had its maternity services taken away in July 2015 and campaigners claim a decision to close the blue-light A&E services at the hospital is expected next year.

The survey found that 90% disagree with the potential closure of A&E departments at Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals and the cutting of 500 hospital beds in the region.

On top of that, 85% were against the downgrade of hospitals from major to local and 92% agreed that blue light ambulances are an essential feature of A&E units.

Of the 1,514 residents who took the survey, 83% said they are “extremely concerned” about the longer travel times to access hospital services.

Protesters outside Ealing Hospital on Friday October 15(Image: Tony McEvoy)

These findings come as the momentum to oppose NHS proposals gains traction throughout the boroughs, as residents prepare to rally against changes to Ealing Hospital on Saturday (September 29).

Residents will be out in force as they march from both Southall Park and Acton Park leading to a rally on Ealing Common.

The march from Southall will meet at Southall Park at 11am and travel past Ealing Hospital, through Hanwell and along New Broadway to Ealing Common.

The march from Acton will meet at Acton Park at 11.30am and travel along The Vale and Acton High Street to Ealing Common. The rally will then begin at 1pm.

(Image: TMS)

Council leader Julian Bell said Ealing Council is not surprised about the “damning findings”.

“The growing demands for healthcare in north-west London means we should be increasing investment,” Councillor Bell said.

“If these plans go ahead, people in Ealing will be further away from emergency treatment even under ‘blue light’ conditions when every second counts.

'We won’t accept this second-rate service'

“We are told that these plans are in our best interests but know that they are driven by finances, not patient care or choice.

“We won’t accept this second-rate service or be bystanders as our hospital services are dismantled and the council will continue to fight these plans all the way.

“I will be writing to the Secretary of State for Health and Sir Simon Stevens to ask them to listen to local people and halt these deeply flawed plans immediately."

Protesters at Ealing Hospital

To support the opposition of the NHS plans to cut health services, residents and people who work in the areas are being encouraged to attend the rally.

Councillor Bell added: “I hope as many local people join the march and rally taking place in Ealing this weekend and sign the petition to save our hospitals.”

Residents are also urged to sign the petition launched by Ealing and Hammersmith and Fulham Councils.

A spokesman from London North West Healthcare NHS Trust said: “Over the next few years we will be looking at where we can best provide services for residents, including GP practices, the community and hospital.

"New services will be developed and some existing services will change.

"No changes will be made until new community services are up and running and will talk to residents.”

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