Feb 22 2013 by Hannah Bewley, Harrow Observer
middlesex hospial protest
An ACCIDENT and emergency department which thousands of people have fought to save will be closed, it has been confirmed.
The A&E at Central Middlesex Hospital in Park Royal will be closed and the hospital reclassified as a local and elective hospital with an urgent care centre, under the Shaping a Healthier Future plans.
The Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts met on Tuesday to discuss its recommendation to support ‘option A’ of the NHS proposals, to reclassify St Mary’s, Hillingdon, Northwick Park, West Middlesex and Chelsea and Westminster as major hospitals and to downgrade others.
This means some Brent patients will be treated at the emergency department at Northwick Park Hospital in Watford Road, which is undergoing a multi-million pound refurbishment.
NHS North West London said it hopes the changes will create a ‘radical difference’ in health care and estimates at least 130 lives could be saved each year in north west London. Dr Mark Spencer, medical director for Shaping a Healthier Future, said it was forced to downgrade Central Middlesex to an elective hospital and close its A&E due to its small size. He said: “The level of care we are currently able to provide at Central Middlesex is much smaller than Northwick Park. Because of space constraints we ruled out early on the opportunity to expand and decided it would be better for elective services. By redesigning what goes into it, we can make that a thriving hospital and much more profitable by retaining elective services and make the best of the site to retain viability for the future.”
Documents published on Friday last week on the Shaping a Healthier Future website revealed 18 petitions were received in opposition to the changes.
For Central Middlesex, the NHS Under the Knife petition got nearly 2,000 signatures, while members of Harlesden Methodist Church submitted a petition with 43 names. A joint petition between all hospital campaigns gathered 25,000 signatures. Both Brent and Harrow Clinical Commissioning Groups supported option A.
Ealing Council will be calling a judicial review into the consultation.
However, councillor Krupesh Hirani, lead member for adults and social care at Brent Council, said the council would not legally challenge the issue.
He added: “We are still dismayed that no option was given through the consultation to have a fully invested A&E service at Central Middlesex hospital. This area represents some of the poorest people in Brent.”
Central Middlesex patient Sarah Cox, who has been part of the campaign from the start, said: “This is not the end of the line, we will all carry on to fight together and not put one hospital up against another.”
The final decision will go to secretary of state for health, Jeremy Hunt. The refurbishments at Northwick Park Hospital are set to be completed by 2017/18 when the A&E at Central Middlesex is due to close.