This letter was sent to all the Doctors sitting on the Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) board. They all appeared to have agreed to close Maternity & the Children’s ward as well as accepting that there will be no paediatrically trained staff in the Urgent Care Centre (UCC) or A&E at Ealing hospital. A Rapid Access Clinic has been set up but this is only available to GPs not the staff of either the UCC or A&E.
I am writing to you as you are on the Ealing CCG representing our profession as well as determining the Health services available to the Ealing community.
The Ealing CCG voted last year to close the maternity department of Ealing Hospital unanimously. I assume therefore you agreed with the received wisdom that as 24 hour in patient consultant cover was not available, the care was therefore not safe. This was the reason given for closing the department. Dr Parmar said that this was evidence based. The evidence was not available as no unit in England had at that time 24 hour cover.
Birmingham tested this employing additional consultants at a cost of ¾ of a £ million and found after one year there was no change in outcome. A further review published in the BMJ (copy enclosed) came to the same conclusion. The out of Borough hospital maternity units do not provide 168 hour Consultant in patient cover and on evidence & the shortage of funds employing the extra staff will not contribute to Shaping a Healthier Future and is a waste of money
Although the Independent Healthcare Commission lead by Michael Mansfield QC recommended the reopening the Ealing Hospital maternity department, this is no longer a possibility because the real reason for closing maternity was to save money.
You are about to close the in patient paediatric beds. Children admitted to the out of Borough Hospitals will be given a choice for their follow up. Most will probably wish to have continuity of care thus reducing slowly out patient numbers at Ealing.
In summary you are strangling Ealing hospital by degrees in order to close it as outlined in the original consultation document, ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’.
You are all working GPs do you really think that the Ealing community will receive a better NHS as a result of your past unanimous actions? May I suggest you vote to postpone the closure of the IP paediatric beds at Ealing Hospital?
Clara Lowy MD, MSc, FRCP