This is the exchange between Barry Gardiner, MP for Brent North and Jeremy Hunt following the latter's announcement of the closure of Central Middlesex A&E in Parliament yesterday:
Barry Gardiner (Brent North, Labour)
This decision is devastating for my constituents. The Secretary of State will know that in the last winter period, Northwick Park hospital and Central Middlesex hospital, which comprise the North West London Hospitals Trust, were the worst-performing hospitals when it came to meeting A and E targets not only in London, but in the country. The trust scored 81.03%. That is an appalling record. What he has done today, by announcing the almost immediate closure of Central Middlesex, can only make that much worse. The College of Emergency Medicine has said that his reconfigured hospitals should have at least 16 consultants in their emergency departments, but his decision will give them 10—and that is not for major trauma centres. Will he elaborate on what he will do to bring the number of consultants up to the level required by the college?
Jeremy Hunt (South West Surrey, Conservative)Has the hon. Gentleman, who is so against these proposals, not noticed the proposals for more emergency care doctors, more critical care doctors and more psychiatric liaison support for A and E departments, which will reduce pressure on A and Es and mean that people admitted through A and Es for emergency care will not have a 10% higher chance of mortality if they are admitted at weekends? His constituents will be among the first to benefit from that. I would caution him, therefore, against saying that this is devastating for his constituents. We were reminded in Prime Minister’s questions earlier of how Labour suffered from predicting massive job losses, when in fact there was an increase in jobs. This announcement is good news for the hon. Gentleman’s constituents, and he should welcome it