|Consultation Backs Ealing A+E Closure|
But local opposition remains high
The future looks bleak for Ealing Hospital's Accident and Emergency department after the publication of the results of a public consultation.
Called 'Shaping a Healthier Future' NHS North West London want fewer but more specialist centres in the area and asked for opinions about the changes.
The findings - just published- show support for ending Accident and Emergency services at Charing Cross, Central Middlesex, Hammersmith and Ealing.
Option A, preferred by the NHS, would have St Mary's, Chelsea and Westminster, West Middlesex, Northwick Park, and Hillingdon hospitals remaining as major facilities, keeping their A&Es.
Option B has Charing Cross, Hillingdon, Northwick Park, St Mary's and West Middlesex hospitals as major hospitals, retaining A&Es facilities.
17,022 submissions were received, between 2 July and 8 October the majority of which came through online. Opponents of the closure are arguing that the consultation was poorly publicised and this response level is tiny given that over 2 million people were affected by the changes. Over 9,000 of the responses came from a campaign organised by Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
64% of those who responded to the question about the way healthcare is delivered agreed there were convincing reasons to change.
Ealing produced the highest number of submissions from the seven boroughs.
Three-quarters of those who responded to the consultation opposed both Option A (74%) and Option B (77%) which would reduce Ealing's facilities to a local as opposed to major hospital. The majority (57%) favoured option C - keeping Ealing as a major hospital.
NHS North West London say the changes will save money and improve care.
Mark Spencer, medical director for Shaping a healthier future, said: "The important thing for us to do now is to look at all the issues raised during the consultation and address them as we review and develop our proposals."
Opponents who have handed a petition in to Downing Street opposing the closure of the four units say the consultation process was flawed and are fearful for the future of local health care.
The health trust's final recommendations are expected to be considered by the secretary of state for health in February next year.
29th November 2012