Details on the future of Charing Cross Hospital have been excluded from the local NHS’s Implementation Business Case published this week.
The long-awaited document sets out the funding plan for the rest of the Shaping a Healthier Future programme for north west London. But it excludes the detail on the future of Charing Cross Hospital.
Hammersmith & Fulham Council Leader, Cllr Stephen Cowan, says that’s because the plan to downgrade Charing Cross Hospital is flawed and the finances supporting it are in total disarray.
“This document suggests they’ve simply got the finances wrong and need to ask government for another £314million to pay for moving Charing Cross’s services to St Mary’s in Paddington,” Cllr Cowan says.
“It’s already taken four years for them to publish the detail to support their plans. On Charing Cross, it looks like they still don’t know what they’re doing. That’s no surprise. As the Mansfield Commission concluded, these plans are deeply flawed and should be halted immediately.”
The NHS business case document has been split into two parts. Part two has yet to be published and covers the transition of services from Charing Cross to St Mary’s Hospital. NHS NW London says that’s ‘because capital funding is being produced to different timelines. Part 2 is predicated on some complex commercial negotiations; the timescale for its development and submission is still to be determined with NHS England.’
Cllr Cowan adds: “This chaos and uncertainty is appalling. While the business consultants and the accountants struggle to make these flawed plans work, local health services are falling apart. Our hospitals are failing to meet their targets, our GPs can’t cope with their workloads and it’s local people who are paying the price.”
The document also appears to confirm campaigners’ worst fears that A&E services at Charing Cross will be replaced by an Urgent Care Centre. It says: ‘All hospitals with an A&E will continue to provide a 24/7 urgent care centre’ and that ‘UCCs will treat around 60 per cent of people who would otherwise have attended A&E’.
It also says Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals will continue to offer an A&E service, ‘although it may be in a different shape or size from that currently offered’.
“I don’t think there can be any doubt that Charing Cross’s A&E is closing, to be replaced by an urgent care centre,” adds Cllr Cowan. “The lack of honesty and openness about this is shameful.”
Hammersmith & Fulham and Ealing councils have refused to sign the local Sustainability and Transformation Plan because it depends on the closure of Charing Cross and Ealing hospitals.
For more background, go to www.lbhf.gov.uk/hospitals.