Hammersmith & Fulham Council hit the headlines last week as the landmark report from the Independent Healthcare Commission chaired by Michael Mansfield QC was unveiled.
Members of the media in West London attended, including camera crews from BC, ITV and London Live, as well as journalists from the Mail on Sunday, the local Chronicle and Gazette newspapers, The Irish World, Eastern Eye, Asian Voice and many others. The story was also covered by the Daily Mirror and the Evening Standard on the day.
H&F Council’s Leader, Cllr Stephen Cowan, established the commission, along with neighbouring council leaders in Ealing, Brent, Hounslow and Harrow.
“Today’s report from Michael Mansfield QC is a watershed moment. Rigorous, thorough, detailed and rightly independent, the review provides indisputable evidence that these changes to local health services are badly planned, hugely costly and causing life-threatening failures in local healtcare,” Cllr Cowan said at the launch on the South Bank.
“The only sane decision is to put a halt to them right now,” added Cllr Cowan.
The commission’s report recommends that:
- The programme needs to be halted.
- Local authorities should consider a legal challenge.
- Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals must retain full ‘blue light’ A&E services for the foreseeable future.
- The decision to close Ealing maternity unit should be reversed with immediate effect.
- The A&E department at Central Middlesex Hospital should be re-opened
- The National Audit Office should undertake a review of the value for money of the programme.
- A new public consultation is needed as the proposals have changed significantly.
- Substantial investment should be made in GP and out-of-hospital services, which are clearly overwhelmed and inconsistent.