Health chiefs accused of hiding job and bed cuts in hospitals from the public

Campaigners claim NHS North West London concealed plans in the “Shaping a Healthier Future” programme

Hospital chiefs have been accused of hiding plans to axe 5,600 jobs and almost 1,000 beds as part of a controversial programme of cuts.

According to health campaigners, NHS North West London omitted the proposals while carrying out a 14-week long public consultation into plans to axe four Accident & Emergency (A&E) departments including the �62m unit in Central Middlesex Hospital (CMH).

The “Shaping a Healthier Future” programme, which was launched in July, will overhaul healthcare in eight London boroughs with CMH losing its casualty unit and its counterparts in Ealing, Hammersmith and Charing Cross hospitals facing closure too.

Last week, opponents of the scheme claim the consultation lacked detail of plans on what services could face cutbacks saying that the axing of jobs and beds were omitted.

Dr John Lister, director of London Health Emergency, an organisation which campaigns against health cuts, said: “This is a shockingly irresponsible plan, which is effectively being smuggled through without proper public debate.

“We have now heard the grave concerns of public health professionals – the very people whose job it is to take care of the health of whole populations – who fear that the system just will not be able to cope.

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“The consultation process is deeply flawed. With such important information withheld by NHS North West London there was no way for the public, especially in Hillingdon, Hounslow, Harrow, Kensington & Chelsea or Westminster to respond to the threats to their services.”

A spokesman for the NHS North West London denied information has been hidden from the public.

He added: “We have published all these figures in 73,000 distributed copies of our consultation plan – to which we have now received tens of thousands of responses, including in petitions and other formats, and 25,590 hits on our website.

“Modern health care means that people can be better supported at home and when they do go to hospital, need to stay there for much shorter times.

“So in developing our plans for future hospital beds in NW London, we are merely following the same medical advances that have been happening elsewhere for many years.”