Hammersmith and Fulham Council's campaigning video
Amidst the distraction of the Brexit farrago a statement was slipped out in the House of Commons last Tuesday of great significance for everyone campaigning to save the NHS and against austerity cuts to public services.
The Secretary of State announced the decision with many a swipe at the local MPs (starts with Karen Buck's question):
A key factor in the campaign was how Hammersmith and Fulham Council got behind the local community and hopsital campaigners and devoted resources to savinf their local hospital A&E. Unfortunately the Shaping the Healthier Future plans that led to the closure of the A&E at Central Middlesex Hospital, although well fought.,were implemented and the A&E is still missed today, particuarly by residents in the Park Royal, Harlesden and Stonebridge areas.
Save our Hospitals Hammersmith and Fulham
The Secretary of Health
Matt Hancock announced on March 26th that the closure plans for both
Charing Cross and Ealing hospitals contained in the cuts & closures plan
known as Shaping A Healthier Future have been withdrawn. We’ve won. It’s
not been easy taking on a well funded posse of spin doctors, management
consultants and political ideologues but many thousands of people have done
just that and after a 7 year fight we’ve stopped a closure plan that was
downright dangerous. Everyone has done their bit whether that’s signing
petitions, challenging bureaucrats in meetings, running street stalls,
demonstrating, fundraising or delivering & displaying posters. We should
feel really proud of ourselves and celebrate our collective achievement.
Of course there are still huge problems: The
£30m primary & community cuts planned for H&F, the state of disrepair
in our hospitals, on going understaffing & under resourcing coupled with
the threat of privatisation by the likes of Babylon and Virgin. Some may have
seen the laughable attempts of local conservative MPs and councillors to claim
responsibility for a victory they have consistently done their best to sabotage
It’s also true that the government could change it’s mind and come back
with new closure plans in the future.
So we’ll have to keep campaigning - we’ve proven
today that campaigning works. But for now let’s just celebrate a victory won by
lots of different people (including you) working together to Save Charing Cross
Kind Regards AD(SOH chair)
Ealing Save Our
Finally, the Government
has admitted the horrible ‘Shaping a Healthier Future Plan’ (SAHF) is not
Former NHS England chief
executive Sir David Nicholson had called these plans “the most significant
reconfiguration project in the country”. But since they first announced SAHF
plans to cut nine major hospitals in North West London down to five, Ealing
Save Our NHS has been campaigning against it side by side with many others
including Save Our Hospitals Charing Cross and the Councils in Ealing and
Hammersmith & Fulham. SAHF spent tens of millions of pounds of NHS
cash on management consultants. All for nothing.
Now Secretary of State for
Health, Matt Hancock, has announced the Department of Health no longer supports
it. Ealing Save Our NHS has distributed a quarter of a million leaflets,
held protests, attended carnivals, organised parties, lobbies, petitions, car
convoys and much more to spell out the truth. On the other side huge
amounts of NHS money was spent on public relations staff and glossy leaflets to
pretend that our health would mysteriously be improved if they closed A&E’s
and hundreds of beds. It didn’t work.
So what will happen
now? Ealing Save Our NHS will keep on campaigning. This disastrous SAHF
plan has seen the closure of two local A&Es, Central Middlesex and
Hammersmith, as well as the closure of Ealing A&E to children. As a direct
consequence, waiting times for Type 1 urgent A&E visits increased greatly.
Ealing Hospital’s excellent maternity department was also closed, forcing
Ealing mothers to travel long distances and negatively effecting continuity of
care for many.
But health bosses appear
to have learned nothing and continue to defend the indefensible. Mark Easton,
the head of the North West London Clinical Commissioning Groups, in announcing
the death of SAHF has just made the mind-boggling claim that maternity care and
emergency paediatric care have improved. This is certainly not the view of
local parents whose local services have closed. Ealing Hospital remains
seriously underfunded and in crisis. But at least there is a ray of sunshine,
the horrible plan underlying all these cuts has gone and we can focus on
calling for proper funding and restoration of local health services.
Dr Tony O’Sullivan,
Co-Chair of Keep Our NHS Public added,
This is a very important
victory for the people of Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham. Campaigners must
be proud of themselves for standing up for the NHS and their local communities
for 7 long years – with integrity, skill and huge impact. Elections unseated the
council backing closure of Charing Cross and the Ealing MP backing government
attacks on the local NHS and public services. Campaigners won the local
councils to their side and refused to give in to the irresponsible plans of
‘Shaping A Healthier Future’ in North West London. Well done and thank you. The
battles are not over. We are with you in your fight to restore the damage done
and win back maternity and children’s services in Ealing Hospital.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council said:
We did it together! The
government has finally been forced to retreat on closing Charing Cross
Thanks to Save Our
Hospitals campaigners, Michael Mansfield QC (who ran the independent commission
that provided such unchallengable evidence against the plans) and to the many,
many residents who have fought with us so hard and for so long.
Council Leader, Cllr
Stephen Cowan says: “This is a huge validation of Michael Mansfield QC’s
findings and a huge victory for the Save Our Hospitals campaign. Thank you to
all the residents who worked with us to save Charing Cross Hospital.”
Statement from North West
London CCG (26 March 2019): “We will not be taking forward the plans as set out
in SaHF for changes to Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals.”
What was planned?
We’ve won the battle to
save Charing Cross Hospital from proposals to demolish most of it and replace
its A&E with an urgent care clinic – leaving just 13 per cent the
size of the original hospital.
We joined forces with local residents and
with Ealing Council, who have been fighting the closure of Ealing Hospital
We’ve refused to sign the
‘North West London STP’ –
because it restates the plan to reduce acute services from nine major hospitals
We’ve held scrutiny meetings to publicly quiz
NHS managers on their plans
We’ve invited local people to public meetings,
rallies and demonstrations
We’ve presented petitions and published
individual residents’ own experiences and stories
We’ve kept local people updated on the campaign
through letters, leaflets, posters and social media.
The current much-loved
Charing Cross Hospital was to be replaced with an urgent care centre,
diagnostics and out-patients only.
The NHS plan included:
Demolishing the current Charing Cross Hospital
and selling off most the site
Replacing the current Charing Cross Hospital
with a series of clinics on a site no more than 13 per cent the size of
the current hospital
Replacing the current A&E with an urgent
Losing more than 300 and possibly all the acute