Following advice from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP), Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt today announced that changes to healthcare services in North West London should proceed to ensure safe and sustainable healthcare for local patients.
Nine hospitals across North West London will be redesigned, so that five of them (Hillingdon, Northwick Park, West Middlesex, Chelsea & Westminster and St Mary’s) provide advanced, comprehensive acute care to the highest possible standard.
Changes at A&Es at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex hospitals will be made after winter. The IRP advised that further work is required on the proposed changes at Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals. As such, the Health Secretary has stated that the A&E departments at Ealing and Charing Cross will remain open, albeit with changes to the services. This process has dragged on for many years and local communities now deserve certainty.
These changes have the unanimous support of all local medical directors, who have written to the Health Secretary setting out that ‘there is a very high level of clinical support for this programme across NW London’ and that these changes will ‘save many lives each year and significantly improve patient’s care and experience of the NHS.’
Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt said:
Changes to services across North West London have been designed and driven by local doctors and healthcare professionals who know their patients best. When local doctors tell me that lives can be saved and patient care improved, I will not hesitate to act in the interests of patients.
Today’s changes will put patients at the centre of the NHS in North West London, giving them better access to care 24/7 at home, at GP surgeries, in hospitals and the community.
The changes also mean:
Local residents can be reassured that urgent or emergency care will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
More critical care consultants on duty 24/7, so that seriously ill patients always get the best expert care.
Increased investment in mental health so that psychiatric liaison services can better co-ordinate 24/7 care for vulnerable, mentally ill people.
- New, custom-built hospitals at Ealing and Charing Cross costing £80 million each, designed to deliver the specific services most needed in those communities.
- £190 million spent every year, on GP and other local services by 2017/18, which will mean access to GP surgeries seven days a week, consistently across NW London.
In line with the emerging findings of Bruce Keogh’s review of A&E, Charing Cross and Ealing hospitals must provide immediate access to specialist consultant opinion, a wide range of diagnostic services and the ability to admit people for assessment, treatment and rehabilitation.
NHS services across North West London are facing the challenges of an ageing population. There are more people with long term conditions and unacceptable variations in the quality of care, including higher mortality rates for patients treated in hospital at night or during the weekend.
The ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ programme, led by local clinicians, proposed changes to services in North West London that would safeguard high quality care and services for the local population. The principles behind this are about putting the patient at the centre of the NHS, providing more accessible care and establishing centres of excellence so that more expertise is available more of the time.
NHS England will work with the local NHS to oversee a rigorous assurance process around these changes.
For more information please contact the Department of Health press office on 0207 210 5375 or 0207 210 5962.