Over the weekend l joined the demonstration & rally over the cuts in the accident & emergency services (A&E) in Hammersmith & Fulham to show some solidarity as a resident of City of Westminster. Little did l realise a good family friend’s experience of the A&E services in the borough over the weekend would confirm my worst fears. That my local A&E will have difficulty coping with the additional demands of these cuts, let alone the ones it has already got.
London is set to lose 8 A&E’s if all the changes proposed by the NHS across London are implemented going from 25 in 2010 to 17 after the changes. This change is particularly acute in North West London NHS covering boroughs in NW London (Hounslow,Hillingdon, Ealing, Brent, Harrow, Hammersmith & Fulham, RBKC & City of Westminster) where we go from 9 to 5 and in particular Hammersmith & Fulham where both the A&Es are being lost and residents will be expected to go to neighbouring boroughs A&E hospitals. In particular Charing Cross, south of the borough is being proposed for closer in favour of Chelsea & Westminster and Hammersmith in Shepherds Bush in favour of St Mary’s in Paddington.
This at a time when the population is rising fast with an estimate that London’s population will grow from 8.17 million to 9 million in 2020. With the present figures each A&E will serve just under half a million or a extra 154,000 extra people. That’s almost the entire population of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea(RBKC) extra joining the catchment of each and every A&E across London. So where is this additional capacity coming from? What will be the health outcomes from such a dramatic reduction? And what will this do to A&E waiting times?
At the rally my local MP and colleague Karen Buck spoke first and explained how her other half, Councillor Barrie Taylor had been turned away from St Mary’s A&E only the previous night as beds were not available to keep an eye over him. He was asked to go to Central Middlesex A&E instead which is being considered for closure! At the best of times St Mary’s can just about cope but if this is a sign of things to come then we are all in big trouble. The irony is that Barrie has been sent to another A&E raising questions of whether St Mary’s will cope with the additional demands of patients from H&F for A&E services, as it has difficulty now coping with the demand of residents in the City of Westminster.
This is why we have to oppose all the cuts in A&E’s in London particularly those in the North West and Hammersmith & Fulham in particular. As these A&E cuts in North West London will affect everybody including those who live in City of Westminster who may think we are not going to be affected. As a result l made a point of signing and going to see the petition being handed into the NW London NHS Trust office along the Marylebone Road this afternoon. The petition is also been handed into Downing St .