Chil­dren’s ward clo­sure con­firmed for June 30th

Am­bu­lances will no longer take young­sters to A&E unit

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - by Goolis­tan Cooper goolis­tan.cooper@trin­i­tymir­

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’

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