Q: NHS North West London has approved proposals to downgrade Charing Cross hospital to a specialist health and social care hospital. Do you think these changes are necessary and why?
A: The future of health care is not about large wards full of people having investigations and long in-patient stays. If your mother wanted a scan, I wouldn’t want her sitting in a hospital for a week. That’s an out-dated model.
Charing Cross hospital will be a world class hospital. Although there will be fewer beds, patients will get immediate access to investigations and specialist opinions with more out-patients visiting in the day. That’s 21st Century care, not sitting around wasting time.
Q: What differences will patients currently using Charing Cross experience?
A: There’s opportunities for innovative surgical models of care across all the hospitals. The number of people moving to a different site is a small amount, it’s about 15 per cent of people.
We have the same models across London, with a major trauma unit, heart attack centre and hyper-acute stroke unit, that’s already changing and it’s improved the outcomes of patients.
I think what worries people is the thought of having to travel slightly further but these models show better outcomes.
Q: This is the first major shake-up of hospital provision in north west London for many years. What other major changes have you witnessed in your career?
A: I’ve seen many modernisations of care. You used to be in hospital after surgery for a week and with elderly patients we kept them in hospital for a long time.
Nowadays we make small cuts – surgical techniques have modernised, it’s less invasive. Patients are walking around the next day, they don’t need to stay in hospital for long periods.
It’s about modernising techniques and modernising pathways into care. This is about being able to treat more patients more safely.
Q: Many campaigners, including clinical staff, argue that the changes are being made on a need to find millions of savings not for clinical advantages for patients. Do you agree?
A: Every other business in the world keeps on changing and modernising, the same needs to happen in health care.
This is an opportunity for NHS North West London to become the best in this country. This is modern thinking done properly and based on lots of consultation. This is the right decision. This is clinically appropriate.
As an active clinician in a big hospitals like Imperial, I say this is absolutely the right way forward.