Brent Council accused of ignoring crusade to save Central Middlesex Hospital's casualty department
PUBLISHED: 16:00 25 August 2012
Campaigners claim neighbouring local authorities are doing more to try and save their endangered A&Es
Council chiefs are being urged to step up their fight to save a casualty department from closing – following claims that neighbouring local authorities are putting them to shame.
The Accident and Emergency unit in Central Middlesex Hospital will be axed alongside its counterparts in Ealing and Hammersmith Hospital.
Since the announcement was made by health chiefs, Ealing Council has sent multi-lingual leaflets to every household in the borough and made funds available for campaigners to hold meetings.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council has called a public meeting next month and is encouraging residents to oppose the plans.
However, according to health campaigners, Brent Council has failed to publicly show its support for campaigners in a similar way despite the casualty unit of the hospital in Acton Lane, Harlesden, being rebuilt six years ago at a cost of £62million.
Sarah Cox, a member of anti-cuts group Brent Fightback, said: “Neighbouring councils have been brilliant in their efforts to stop this, but what has Brent Council done?
“It has condemned the decision in a council meeting, which doesn’t mean anything.
‘‘There is nothing to stop them being out on the streets with us campaigning and coming to meetings. The people of Brent are horrified by this and they need to be supported.”
The proposed closures are part of an overhaul of healthcare across eight London boroughs by NHS North West London.
Cllr Krupesh Hirani, Brent Council’s lead member for adults and health, claimed it was “difficult” to back the campaign as there is no cross-party support.
He added: “Both the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives in Brent have refused to criticise the plans put forward by their own Government.
“We will continue to campaign on this issue as Brent Labour Party.
“We have been working with the community to raise awareness of the issue, including writing to Andrew Lansley, [secretary of state for health] and raising the issue with residents.”
Dismissing Cllr Hirani’s explanation, Mrs Cox said: “They didn’t need cross party support when they were closing our libraries; they are the leading party and they have to do something.
“Harlesden has the lowest life expectancy of any of the areas affected by these changes and it will affect the most vulnerable residents, some of whom didn’t event know about the plans. They need to be stood up for.”