Children’s ward closure confirmed for June 30th
Ambulances will no longer take youngsters to A&E unit
THE decision to close Ealing Hospital’s children’s ward was rubber stamped by health officials at a meeting last week.
It was confirmed by Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) following its governing body meeting in Greenford.
The decision means the inpatient children’s ward at the hospital, known as the Charlie Chaplin ward, will close on June 30.
Other reforms voted through by Ealing CCG mean ambulances will no longer take children to the A&E unit at the hospital, in Uxbridge Road, Southall.
Changes have been made and are being made by a series of CCGs, made up of GPs in north west London boroughs, which launched the programme Shaping a Healthier Future (SaHF) in 2012.
The programme resulted in the closure of Ealing Hospital’s maternity ward, and A&E units at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex hospitals.
There is also grave concern over the future of the emergency unit at Charing Crossing in Hammersmith. Children will still be treated at the 24/7 Urgent Care Centre, and those requiring day care and outpatient care will be seen at the hospital as normal.
Ealing CCG also says the introduction of the Rapid Access Clinic will provide GPs with “specialist advice and timed appointments for children needing to see a specialist within 48 hours”.
But Oliver New, chairman of Ealing Save Our NHS labelled the decision to close Charlie Chaplin as “disgusting” and said it endangered the lives of young people.
He said: “This will mean there are no paediatric consultants based at Ealing. That means if a child goes to Ealing A&E there’s no back up or specialists to see the child.
“So the ambulance won’t take children to Ealing A&E, they will take them elsewhere, but most kids get taken in by families.
“The problem is they will be hanging around waiting for transport to take them somewhere else but it won’t be an ambulance.
“They will be waiting for hospital transport which could take quite some time. Then they will have to queue to be seen at the A&E elsewhere. There could be quite long delays.”
He said the future of the hospital was ultimately at stake: “It’s disgusting. It’s unsafe despite everything they said and it undermines the A&E because it will be adult-only.
“They have closed all the different services that need A&E, and it means there’s nothing to stop the Government from downgrading the A&E.
“They’re clearing the decks. Once you close A&E and take away specialist staff it’s no longer a specialist hospital. In order to do this they have to make assurances that it’s safe and OK but its hugely reduced services which will impact on communities that live nearby.”
Last year a report led by Michael Mansfield QC called for an immediate halt to changes made under SaHF.
n PROTEST: Around 80 people including GLA member Onkar Sahota gathered outside the meeting at Greenford Hall on Wednesday ahead of the decision to approve the closure of the children’s ward which has been condemned as ‘disgusting’