NHS concerns over emergency ambulance access to St Mary’s Hospital following the building of the landmark Paddington Quarter development have fallen on deaf ears.
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and the London Ambulance Service (LAS) have repeatedly flagged up fears over the hospital’s new access road to the developers, Westminster City Council and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
But after being told their concerns were unfounded, Imperial and LAS say they have been left “in a frustrated and challenging position” and with no choice but to “conclude current discussions”.
The £775 million Paddington Quarter redevelopment will include the building of the Paddington Cube - a 14 storey office building on the site of the former Royal Mail sorting office - and include a £65m upgrade of Paddington Station.
The proposals were put forward by Great Western Developments Ltd and its development partner Sellar Property Group, and was granted planning permission in December last year subject to conditions.
Despite being supportive of Paddington’s regeneration, Imperial, which runs St Mary’s, fears the development will impact on access to the hospital.
A spokesperson said: “We and a number of London-wide NHS organisations have serious safety concerns about plans for a new access road to St Mary’s Hospital as part of the development.
“The new road, as currently designed, will cause delays in access to and from the hospital, including for ‘blue light’ ambulances.
“Together with the London Ambulance Service, we have raised concerns at every stage of the planning process – with the developers, Westminster City Council, the Mayor of London and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
“Leaders of the London region of NHS England and NHS Improvement have also raised their concerns directly with the Council and the Mayor.”
A letter was sent by LAS and Imperial bosses to Westminster Council’s chief executive Charlie Parker following the final access roads meeting in May.
In it, LAS chief executive Garrett Emmerson and Imperial chief executive Tracey Batten say it is clear their “concerns are not shared”.
“It is our understanding that Westminster City Council, the GLA and Transport for London believe that the Paddington Quarter proposals provide a safe access route into St Mary’s Hospital, and so will not impact on the operational running of the hospital and the ability of the London Ambulance Service to provide an emergency ambulance service to this emergency department, major trauma centre and also at times of major incidents,” the letter reads.
“The Trust and LAS therefore find themselves in a frustrating and challenging position, but feel that given our full concerns have been made clear to all parties, we are left with no other choice than to conclude our current discussions.”
A council spokesperson responded that it had worked closely with representatives of St Mary’s Hospital and developers to ensure access to the hospital is not compromised or restricted.
The spokesperson said: “The council believes that the proposed ambulance access route is safe and a significant improvement to the existing access through London Street.
“There is no evidence to suggest otherwise and this view has been fully supported by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the Mayor of London.”
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