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Emergency surgery axed at busy hospital

PUBLISHED: 14:52 03 December 2009 | UPDATED: 14:47 24 August 2010

EXCLUSIVE Andrew McCorkell STAB victims could die while being transferred by ambulance because an emergency surgery service has been axed, a hospital source revealed. A senior doctor, at Central Middlesex Hospital (CMH) in Acton Lane, Park Royal, leaked

EXCLUSIVE

Andrew McCorkell

STAB victims could die while being transferred by ambulance because an emergency surgery service has been axed, a hospital source revealed.

A senior doctor, at Central Middlesex Hospital (CMH) in Acton Lane, Park Royal, leaked the news that its Accident and & Emergency unit will no longer provide a 'blue light' 999 response for patients needing emergency surgery after the service was cut on Tuesday.

The hospital has no planned helicopter support and no allocation for emergency ambulances for proposed transferrals to Northwick Park in Watford Road, Harrow, the physician claimed.

The clinician, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "The service is for someone who needs immediate surgery, if say they have been stabbed in the stomach. If the surgery is available on site they can go straight into theatre and solve the problem.

"If we have to transfer a patient to Northwick Park that will further delay treatment and someone could die in the transfer.

"There will not be any surgery on site and there will not be any available over the weekend as well. That will risk patients' lives.

"They have suggested they will send patients to Northwick Park, but there is no dedicated helicopter waiting to transport them. They say it's an eight minute transfer but there is no blue light ambulance to transfer them. It's a joke - they can't make it in eight minutes.

"In any case, it's nonsense and a patient can die in those eight minutes."

Around 85,000 people use the service each year, but with no on-site surgeon CMH should no longer be referred to as Accident and Emergency (A&E) to stop critical patients arriving at its doors, the doctor said.

In July, the Times revealed that A&E doctors were being offered two weeks training to cover specialist gynaecology work at the hospital.

The hospital axed its gynaecology service on July 27 amid concerns that the lives of expectant mums would be put at risk.

The area around the hospital has one of the highest rates of ectopic pregnancies - a complication where the egg connects to tissue outside the womb - in the country.

A spokesman for North West London Hospital Trust, which manages CMH and Northwick Park Hospital, said many of the capital's hospitals are facing changes in order to improve patient care.

He added: "What the A&E team will do is make sure that a patient is stable and all their organs are functioning properly so that they can be transferred safely by ambulance to Northwick Park for surgery.

"Where you have as large hospital as we do at Northwick Park with a big team of surgeons who can operate 24 hours a day with a range of specialities - that is the place where patients who need that surgery should be treated."

He said the move did not spell the end of A&E at Central Middlesex and added that blue light ambulance services are available to all London hospitals.

andrew.mccorkell@archant.co.uk


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