Brent Council "will not rule out court action" over A&E closures
PUBLISHED: 12:53 12 February 2016
Brent Council has said it will not rule out taking court action to stop the NHS programme that saw the closure of Central Middlesex Hospital's A&E unit.
The council’s cabinet councillors responded to recommendations in a commissioned report that the Shaping A Healthier Future (SaHF) programme should be halted.
Failing that, advice states a judicial review should be sought over the decision to implement the “deeply flawed programme” which led to the “acute pressure” on Northwick Park Hospital and its worst waiting times in the country.
The recommendations were made by Michael Mansfield QC in his independent commissioned report probing the axing of casualty units at CMH in Acton Lane, Park Royal, and Hammersmith and Ealing Hospitals.
The report summed up that there was “no realistic prospect of achieving good quality accessible healthcare for all. Therefore any further implementation is likely to exacerbate a deteriorating situation and should be halted immediately.”
Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, said: “We do need to have a rethink about what’s happening with SaHF and what’s happening in Northwick Park, especially around provision and services which are under immense and acute pressure.”
Cllr John Warren, from Brent Conservatives, asked the cabinet if it would be taking a judicial review.
Cllr Krupesh Hirani, Brent Council’s lead member for adults, health and wellbeing, said: “Our approach moving forward is to work closely with the NHS locally to make sure that local people get the best services possible, though if things do deteriorate further as a result of the changes, we reserve our right, along with neighbouring councils, to consider seeking a judicial review of the government’s original restructuring decision.”
However Cllr Warren said: “I don’t see a need to have a judicial review. We should act as a constructive critical friend to Northwick Park, not a destructive one.”
SaHF is the core transformational programme being led by the eight CCGs of North West London: Brent, Harrow, Hillingdon, Central London, West London, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hounslow and Ealing.
A SaHF spokeswoman said: “Patients are already seeing benefits since we started implementing our improvement programme two years ago. More than a million people now have better access to GPs with more appointments available over weekdays and weekends, and we now have eleven community hubs open across North West London, which provide a range of health and social care services in one place, closer to people’s homes.
“Part of the improvement plan includes additional investment to modernise and increase capacity in our hospitals and community sites. This will help the NHS provide the best possible care to our local communities.”