Health chief admits closure of Central Middlesex Hospital's A&E could cause problems
PUBLISHED: 18:52 28 July 2014 | UPDATED: 18:52 28 July 2014
A health chief has admitted the closure of the accident and emergency (A&E) department in Central Middlesex Hospital (CMH) could cause problems for patients.
The casualty unit will close for good on September 10 just eight years after undergoing a £62million makeover.
The axe fell on the department as part of the controversial Shaping a Healthier Future plans, which will also see the closure of the A&E department in Hammersmith Hospital on the same day.
Plans to close Ealing Hospital’s A&E have been shelved.
The closure will result in a majority of residents in the borough using Northwick Park Hospital (NPH) in Watford Road, Sudbury, instead.
David McVittie, chief executive of North West London Hospitals (NWLH) NHS Trust, told the Times the change could create problems but promises improvements in the healthcare in the near future.
“There is going to be fears concerns and anxiety until people see that the changes do work,” he said.
“We are not saying everything will go smoothly on day one but we are hopeful that people will see improvements to their healthcare in the near future.”
He added: “Given the reduction in the numbers of patients using the service and the challenges with staffing, we believe consolidating emergency and trauma expertise at Northwick Park Hospital is in the best interests of the most seriously ill patients.”
According to Mr McVitte, CMH’s casualty unit was grossly under-used with an average of just 38 people visiting the site per day -13 of who were actually admitted.
However despite this claim, the trust only met its targets in A&E waiting times on two weeks last year.
Mr McVittie said: “We absolutely acknowledge that our performance has not been good. That is our number one priority.”
It is hoped that the extra 46 beds already opened at NPH, with a further 22 set to be delivered following the opening of a brand new A&E department, due to open in autumn, can cope with the added pressure following the closure.
Sarah Cox, health campaigner, claims the closure would result in longer waits and adds pressure to the “already over-stretched” NPH.
She continued: “They are going on a wing and a prayer. I think they are keeping their fingers crossed that it will improve but I do not think that the patients are convinced.”
A major public awareness campaign alerting resident to the change will kick off today.
For more information on the closure visit www.nwlondonemergencycare.nhs.uk