DOCTORS at Ealing Hospital are calling for residents and GPs’ help in stopping the scaling down of Ealing Hospital.
Consultants, led by Jenny Vaughan and Frank Geoghegan, have put together a pack called Choose Ealing to encourage family doctors to refer their patients to Ealing Hospital.
They have also produced a raft of data to show the devastating impact the loss of services will have on the borough, which has been presented to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel. The panel is writing a report on NHS bosses’ plans to scale down Ealing and three other hospitals in north-west London, stripping them of A&Es and most of their services.
The hospital’s staff are determined this will not happen but are worried residents and GPs will see it as a foregone conclusion. They have already seen a fall in the number of mothers choosing to give birth at Ealing, despite above-average satisfaction with the service and rising borough birth rates.
They are calling on residents to write to the panel, whose report health secretary Jeremy Hunt will use to decide in September whether to approve the scheme. As part of their evidence to the panel, doctors have drawn up a map showing
the four hospitals under threat – Ealing, Central Middlesex, Charing Cross and Hammersmith – all centred where
social deprivation is highest.
Dr Vaughan said: "It’s saying the people who are going to have to travel are the ones with the highest health needs and the ones with the least reserves to cope."
She said many patients come to the A&E with illnesses which have developed into serious conditions, and simply beefing up primary care to make up for cutting hospital services, as NHS bosses plan, would not change this.
She said: "You’re going to have to reeducate the population (to seek help earlier) which takes years. It’s about having the access to the care they need when they need it."
For example, 42 per cent of bowel cancer first diagnoses in the borough are made in Ealing A&E, while the national average is just 25 per cent. And often patients suffer from many different conditions, something which Ealing Hospital is adept at dealing with, as there are so many services working together so well.
Contact the panel on 020 7389 8046, firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to Independent Reconfiguration Panel, 6th floor, 157-197 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 9SP.
An NHS comment was not available at the time of publishing.