Health care campaigners have claimed there are plans to close Ealing and Charing Cross Hospitals as acute major hospitals, slash services and cut almost NHS 8,000 jobs in north west London.
The group says documents provided following a Freedom of Information request reveals the full impact the cost-cutting Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) could have on the area .
The claim of hospital closures was categorically denied by the NHS, which said hospitals were not closing and pointed to a £500million investment programme revealed in December.
Campaign group, Save Our Hospitals, say up to 600 hospital beds will also be lost with the closure of Charing Cross and Ealing as a major acute hospital.
The findings were released on Thursday (January 26), the same day Dr Tracey Batten, the chief executive of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust announced she was stepping down from her position of chief executive.
Children's ward at Ealing Hospital closed
But both Imperial, and London North West Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Ealing Hospital, say there are no plans for the hospitals to close.
Save Our Hospitals says it has seen a North West London Delivery Plan for the STP, which claims:
- The loss of 3,658 NHS jobs in north west London in 2017/18, rising to 7,753 job losses by 2020/21.
- Almost 50,000 planned admissions and 222,370 outpatient appointments cut by 2020/21.
- The loss of 500 to 600 hospital beds with the closure of Charing Cross and Ealing as major acute hospitals.
- A reduction in A&E attendances by 64,175 in the next five years.
The campaign group says the STP delivery plan has yet to be shown to some local authorities, and that there is no evidence to suggest the health services can cope with the cuts.
Chairman of the campaign group, Merril Hammer, said: “These plans threaten patients’ lives.
"We need more beds and more staff, not ongoing cuts.”
Vanessa Redgrave speaks at Charing Cross Hospital meeting
This month figures have shown people at Charing Cross A&E are having to wait longer to be seen, and a rise in patient numbers .
Dr Batten resigned from her £340,000 position at Imperial, which runs five hospitals including Charing Cross, to return home to Australia.
The trust has been in the spotlight as a result of the BBC’s Hospital documentary , following staff at St Mary’s Hospital, which is also managed by Imperial.
Ms Hammer added: “Our campaign fears that Imperial management will spend months looking for a new CEO when they should be tackling the unprecedented A&E, bed capacity and treatment crises.”
But an STP spokesperson refuted the Save Our Hospitals conclusions, saying: “Ealing and Charing Cross Hospitals are not closing.
"We are changing some of the services at these hospitals and in December we published a business case for over £500m of additional investment to improve NHS buildings and facilities across NW London over the next ten years.
"The business case is still subject to assurance from NHS England.”
It expects to see an increased number of health and care staff across NW London - not a reduction - and said the information viewed by Save Our Hospitals tells only part of the story.
Imperial added: “There is a clear commitment in the STP that there will be no changes to Charing Cross A&E unless and until such time as out-of-hospital services have adequately reduced demand for acute hospital services.
"As such, the STP, which covers the period up until April 2021, does not include the implementation of plans for Charing Cross to become a local hospital or for any reduction in its bed numbers.”
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