Ealing Council’s actions could delay closure of Central Middlesex Hospital’s casualty unit

Central Middlesex Hospital

Central Middlesex Hospital - Credit: Archant

Local authority have referred plans to the secretary of state for health

A decision to refer the move to close four Accident and Emergency Departments (A&E) in North West London to the secretary of state could delay proceedings, health chiefs have confirmed.

Ealing Council have asked Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for health, to consider the Shaping a Healthier Future (SAHF) plans.

The controversial scheme, which was rubber stamped last month, will see four hospitals lose their casualty unit, including Central Middlesex Hospital, in Acton Lane, Harlesden.

Ealing Hospital will also lose its A&E department and the Labour council, who have vociferously fought against the plans since they were announced, have now asked the secretary of state to intervene.

A spokesman for the SAHF programme told the Times: “This is a shame, as this process normally takes a few months and will delay implementation of much needed improvements to local services which the majority of clinicians, local GPs and other local councils want to see go ahead.”

Brent Council’s Health Partnership Overview and Scrutiny Committee will be meeting at the end of the month to discuss the plans and their impact on Brent but have previously said they would not challenge the decision.

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Central Middlesex’s A&E department was redeveloped six years ago at a cost of £65m but bosses for SAHF claimed it was not viable to keep it open.

It has been closed overnight since November 2011.

The spokesman added: “The NHS will continue what planning it can and remains committed to working with Ealing Council and further developing its local community health strategies, of which Ealing Hospital will be a critical part.”