Fight Back Begins Against Proposed NHS Closures

Meeting in Hammersmith plus launch of online petition

The fight back has begun against proposed closures of A&E departments in West London, including Charing Cross Hospital in Hammersmith and Hammersmith Hospital in Shepherd's Bush.

Local MP Andy Slaughter is amongst campaigners protesting on Monday afternoon outside Westminster Central Hall, where the Board of the Joint PCTs for North West London are meeting to adopt the closure plans.

Other closures across North West London are on the agenda as well, so people from Ealing and Hounslow are also gathering outside the hall to make their views heard.

The protestors are also attending the board meeting itself which is taking place "in public" at 2.30pm which means concerned residents are allowed to attend and observe and there will be an opportunity to put questions to the board. It starts at 2.30pm.

Campaigners say this is just the first move in a fight by residents to save local NHS services from the axe. An online petition has been launched, with over 1,200 people signing it by lunchtime on Monday.

A public meeting is planned in Hammersmith on Thursday, June 28 at 6.30pm, with the venue still to be confirmed.

On Friday, Hammersmith & Fulham Council issued a strong response to the NHS report which proposed closing A&E services at four west London hospitals, including Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals - and urged the public to make their views heard.

Cllr Marcus Ginn, cabinet member for community care at the council, said: "We have been warning of the threat to Charing Cross hospital for many months and this confirms our worst fears.

"We will be fighting tooth and nail to save Charing Cross – the public are not going to accept this plan quietly, especially when the case for stripping all the major service out of such a well loved and respected centre of excellence is not supported by evidence.

"Over many months of questioning on this, NHS bureaucrats have failed to address concerns that this will leave thousands of residents dangerously distant from emergency care or to show that lives will not be put at risk by these closures.

"We think it is madness that they have not taken account of the fact that only Charing Cross has the space for expansion and the public transport links that a major hospital requires.

"They have not taken account of the thousands on new homes being built in west London which will mean we need more local access to hospitals, not less.

"We have warned them not to go down this path. The public reaction is going to be immense."

The campaign is expected to build as a public consultation begins in July with a final decision on the proposed changes being made early in 2013.

June 25, 2012