Public evidence hearings into the future of NHS healthcare in west London will be held this month as part of an in-depth inquiry led by a top barrister.
The changes under scrutiny include the closures of A&Es at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex hospitals, last September, and the planned loss of acute care beds.
The Independent Healthcare Commission, chaired by Michael Mansfield QC, was set up by four local councils in north-west London who have been deeply concerned by deteriorating hospital services and impending threats to existing services.
Mr Mansfield will be joined on the Commission by Dr Stephen Hirst, a retired GP from Chiswick with extensive local knowledge, and John Lister, researcher on the People’s Inquiry into London’s NHS in 2012 and Senior Lecturer in Journalism at Coventry University.
The Commission is inviting residents to attend hearings at which evidence will be heard from speakers on how the changes to local health services, whether planned or already introduced, will affect, or have already affected, the quality of acute care in the region.
Mr Mansfield said: “This commission will look at the impacts of past and proposed changes to healthcare in west London.
"It will create a detailed picture by taking a wide range of evidence into account, including a forensic examination of the facts and figures as well as personal accounts from patients and healthcare professionals.”
The independent commission will also review plans to demolish the current Charing Cross Hospital and replace it with a smaller building - a fraction of the size of the former hospital - and with a series of significantly scaled down health services.
They will also look at scaling down Charing Cross Hospital’s current A&E to an urgent care clinic (also now defined by the government as a Type 3 A&E) that will not take emergency ‘blue light’ ambulance cases and will mostly be a facility that is led by GPs.
Coucillor Stephen Cowan, Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council, said: “We are determined to defend local hospitals and our local NHS.
"I urge residents to attend the hearings to hear for themselves the impact of the current cutbacks and what the likely impact of future changes may be.
“I am extremely grateful to have Michael Mansfield QC chair this Commission. He has an outstanding record and this independent review is essential. I am also indebted to Dr Stephen Hirst and Dr John Lister for giving their time and expertise.
The public hearing in Hammersmith & Fulham will be held at Hammersmith Town Hall on Saturday (March 14) between 9.30am and 5.30pm.
Submissions are now closed, but if you would like to comment people can email email@example.com.
The running order for the day:
Morning session (9.30am to 12.30pm)
- Local MPs
- Royal College of Nursing
- H&F Council
- H&F Conservative Group
- Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea
Afternoon session (1.30pm to 5.30pm)
- Individual local residents
- Save Our Hospitals Campaign
- Royal College of Surgeons
Public hearings will also be held at the three other west London boroughs which helped set up the Commission: Ealing Town Hall on March 21, Hounslow Civic Centre on March 28 and Brent Civic Centre on May 9.
All three sessions will hear evidence from a wide range of additional witnesses.