Health Secretary must 'end his silence' as A&E crisis deepens

Hammersmith & Fulham Council Leader Stephen Cowan has called on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to ‘end his silence’ as an official report revealed the deepening A&E crisis in West London – and the increasing importance of Charing Cross A&E.

The latest report follows Michael Mansfield QC’s landmark Public Inquiry, which highlighted a catalogue of deficiencies with the North West London NHS ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ programme, including plans to axe blue light A&E services at Charing Cross Hospital.

The newly released official figures show a staggering 13.1 per cent increase in type 1 A&E admissions at Charing Cross Hospital this year – despite local health bosses driving ahead with controversial plans to axe blue light A&E services at Charing Cross.

The report also lays bare the worsening A&E performance at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, with the national four hour A&E target missed for eight out of the last nine months.

“Michael Mansfield’s public inquiry painted a worrying picture of the threats posed to health services in our borough,” said Cllr Cowan. “This new NHS report shows that the situation is actually worse than we thought.

“The number of people using Charing Cross A&E continues to soar, with ambulance crews increasingly choosing to bring patients to Charing Cross in emergencies, while strains on other emergency and Urgent Care units are also increasing.

“In this pressure-cooker environment, it would be extraordinary to close the A&E at Charing Cross when it is more in demand than ever.

"The Secretary of State has now had a month to respond to the letter sent by four London council leaders and me seeking solutions to these terrible problems. The 1.5million West Londoners we represent will be baffled by Jeremy Hunt’s silence.

“Meanwhile, North West London NHS seems determined to continue slashing services at Charing Cross as part of its ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ programme. As patients suffer, costs for this programme are skyrocketing to eye-watering levels, with current estimates putting the price at more than £1.3billion – 10 times the original budget.

“One thing is certain: H&F Council will continue to do the right thing, standing shoulder to shoulder with residents and repeating our demands for the Secretary of State to halt this process.”

The report: “Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust winter resilience planning, A&E performance and Cerner programme to the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham Health, Adult Social Care and Social Inclusion Policy and Accountability Committee” can be found here.

You can read a copy of the Independent Healthcare Commission’s report here (pdf 812KB).

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