‘Hands off our urgent care centre’: MPs, councillors and activists demand Brent CCG reconsiders night closure
- Credit: Jonathan Goldberg
Brent MPs Barry Gardiner and Dawn Butler joined forces to demand local NHS bosses reconsider a decision to slash the hours of the Urgent Care Centre at Central Middlesex Hospital.
Beforehand, the local Labour Party held a protest outside of the CCG's offices in Chaplin Way Wembley on Friday, before the MPs met with senior staff to discuss the proposal - which will see the centre shut between midnight and 8am each day from November 1.
The night before, Brent Council's community and wellbeing scrutiy comittee also passed a resolution recommending the CCG think again about the night-time closure.
An extraordinary meeting of the committee was convened to examine a plan to limit financial losses across North West London Collaboration of CCGs (NWLCCCG) - of which Brent is a part.
The combined authorities - set to formally merge in 2021 - have been searching for ways to stop its finances spiralling further into the red.
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Due to a poor financial position in 2017-18, the CCGs were hoping to limit losses to a target of £50.8m, but in September it became clear that the picture was likely to be much worse - the authorities were projected to lose a further £61.6m - unless changes were made.
In a letter to the members of the scrutiny committee, Ms Butler wrote: "I am however deeply concerned of the sustained cuts that are repeatedly and disproportionately inflicted upon my constituents living in the south of Brent; particularly Harlesden and Stonebridge."
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The MP said it was "not acceptable" that "this will mean no access to 24-hour car in Brent Central".
Mark Easton, the chief officer of the group of CCGs was among those at the meeting who defended the move.
Asked whether he would back the decisions if the CCGs did not need to save money, he said: "If you're asking is there anything on this list that will have a detrimental impact on patients - in most cases, the answer's no.
"The cost of seeing patients after midnight at the UCC is actually more than if they had gone to a fully functional A&E department."
A "stakeholder engagement exercise" found the Park Royal hospital's urgent care centre was not used enough over night, and that those who did use it could otherwise use other NHS services including the non-emergency 111 phone line.
Earlier this month, Ms Butler put a motion to Brent Council - which was passed - that called on the town hall to join her campaign to protect local health services.