The Shaping a Healthier Future (SaHF) plan was to close 4 A&Es across NW London. In Sept 2014 it closed the first two: at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex Hospitals. You don’t have to be a medical statistician to see from the graphs the significant dive in A&E performance in our area following the closure of these two A&Es . Our area is the blue line labelled Eal and NWLT. The target is the horizontal straight line of 95% of Type 1 A&E patients being seen within 4 hours.
Many of us believe that figures like this show SaHF’s plan to be completely flawed. Even an injection of £20 million to prop up poor performance at Northwick Park failed to prevent this decline.
Ealing’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the SaHF team would not offer an explanation for this awful performance. They commissioned a £150,000 Mc Kinsey & Co report to explain the drop in performance. This report reached the conclusion that the A&E performance drop was due to “sector changes” no doubt those same changes they had proposed in the original SaHF document.
Brent CCG tried to fend off the problems of very busy A&Es by telling residents of Brent Harrow and Hillingdon that “A&Es were for life threatening emergencies only”. The Advertising Standards Authority banned the advice and poster following a complaint.
The unpleasant truth is that if we could measure maternity closure (July 2015) and proposed closure of childrens’ services (June 2016) at Ealing Hospital we would find and would expect similar drops in performance. This is not only unacceptable to Ealing residents, it puts pressure on neighbouring provision throughout west London and beyond.
Supporters of SaHF like to evidence the significant improvements to outcomes for stroke patients using centralised services. Now even these gains are being put in jeopardy by reduced ambulance performance.
In conclusion the authoritative Mansfield Report recommends that:
- The A&E department at Central Middlesex be reopened to take pressure off the faltering Northwick Park A&E and
- That Ealing and Charing Cross Hospitals A&Es must retain blue light ambulance services for the foreseeable future.
(Data and graphs were collated by Colin Stansfield)