Victory for Charing Cross Hospital as stroke unit set to leave St Mary's

In a victory for Charing Cross Hospital, the NHS is planning to move its stroke unit from the ‘outdated’ St Mary’s Hospital to be based in Hammersmith.

In a blow to the local NHS efforts to strip Charing Cross of its best units and sell off part of the site, a board meeting for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust last week (27 May) saw members plan to move the St Mary’s unit in Paddington because it was based in ‘old and outdated facilities’.

Instead, the NHS bosses praised the ‘larger, modern facilities at Charing Cross Hospital’ in the official report.

“Moving the stroke unit out of the ailing St Mary’s to the excellent facilities and clinical results of the Charing Cross unit was an obvious choice,” said Stephen Cowan, Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

“And now that they’ve admitted how good the Charing Cross unit is, the NHS should keep the unit at Charing Cross permanently. And this shows our steady pressure on the NHS is paying off.”

According to Imperial, the move would only be for approximately five years, until St Mary’s is re-developed. However, critics of the plan to strip Charing Cross and other West London hospitals of its specialist units claim that St Mary’s is inaccessible to a lot of local patients and too close to a similar unit at University College Hospital – which is just down the road from Paddington in Euston Square.

During the year 2014-15, Imperial treated 2,124 patients at the existing stroke units in Charing Cross – while treating only 186 at St Mary’s.

According to NHS bosses, the enlarged stroke unit at Charing Cross would:

  • Provide 24 hour availability of MRI scanning service
  • Reduce the average length of stay for all stroke patients
  • Have the best trained stroke specialist teams.

Imperial defended the move, with a spokesman saying: “The stroke unit at Charing Cross Hospital has performed very well.”

The move is expected to be formally agreed later in the summer.