NHS bosses were grilled on the future of NHS services in west London as part of an independent commission's investigation into the Shaping a Healthier Future programme.
The commission concluded eight weeks of examining the impact and implications of the Shaping a Healthier Future programme.
Chaired by Michael Mansfield QC, the commission examines the plans of the programme to reduce nine hospitals to five major hospitals with the four either planned for closure or classified as local hospitals without full A&E units.
The plans were first outlined in 2012, setting off in 2014 with the closure of the A&E facilities at Hammersmith Hospital.
Concerns arose however after waiting times for patients at the remaining A&E at Northwick Park became among the worst in the country, with residents struggling to be seen.
Saturday's evidence hearing saw a range of local residents, health service providers and elected members providing information to the Commissioners.
'Our worst fears had become reality'
Cllr Muhammed Butt of Brent Council outlined his concerns for the quality of health services: “All along we have warned about the impact that the Shaping a Healthier Future Programme would have for Brent residents.”
“The ridiculously long A&E waiting times that followed the closures late last year demonstrated that our worst fears had become reality.”
“The Shaping a Healthier Future programme is now getting the independent scrutiny it needs and I look forward to hearing the Commission’s findings so we can protect the interests of patients in Brent and across west London. We all want to work in more efficient ways but the health and welfare of local people must come first.”
However, growing disquiet at the knock-on effect on hospitals, particularly the closure of emergency services at Central Middlesex and Hammersmith, has resulted in the surprise announcement by NHS England of its own inquiry into how hospital reconfiguration in west London is being handled.
Dr Stephen Hirst, a retired GP from Chiswick, described the SAHF programme as a “juggernaut that has started and was impossible to stop.”
Fellow commission member John Lister, researcher on the People's Inquiry into London's NHS in 2012, also clashed with Dr Spencer, asking: “Why are we reducing hospital services before the local community services are in place?”
The Commission was set up to take part in an independent review of the proposals, publishing a report on their findings in July 2015.