Tuesday 14 February 2012

Fears over NHS services if hospital trusts merge

I have received this public statement on behalf of Brent, Ealing and Harrow Trades Union Councils

Your readers may be aware that a consultation is currently underway over the proposed merger of the NW London and Ealing Hospital trusts. The proposal is that this merger should be agreed by July of this year.
We are seriously concerned that this merger of the trusts, supposedly on financial grounds, will lead to a reduction in NHS services in Brent, Ealing and Harrow. Despite stressing that the consultation is about the merger of the trusts and not about the re-organisation of services, the consultation meetings have been told that this could lead to a “rationalisation” of services, particularly in the light of the government’s insistence that the NHS is required to make £20 billion of cuts.

We believe this merger would lead to a reduction of local services and people having to make often long and difficult journeys across West and North-West London. Already the consultation process seems more a P.R. exercise for a decision that has already been made.The bigger merged trust will be even less accountable and responsive to the needs of local people than the services are now.

We have already seen the closure of the Accident and Emergency Department at Central Middlesex Hospital at night, with growing expectation that this “temporary” closure will become permanent. There are fears that one of the 3 district general hospitals involved (Ealing, Central Middlesex and Northwick Park) will close. Such moves transfer services from where they are needed to where it is financially most convenient.

As secretaries of the Trades Union Councils in the 3 boroughs involved, we intend to closely monitor what is happening, and to campaign vigorously to defend our health service in all its aspects.

To this end we will shortly be convening co-ordinated meetings in all 3 boroughs to which we will invite health campaigners, NHS trades unionists and everyone who relies on the NHS to establish such a campaign.
Any readers wishing to be involved or to know more, can contact:

Brent: Ben Rickman ben.rickman@gmail.com
Ealing: Eve Turner eveturner@btopenworld.com
Harrow: John Rattray johnprattray@btinternet.com

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