‘Hidden’ report shows four extra A&E patients tipped Northwick Park Hospital to crisis point

Northwick Park Hospital

Northwick Park Hospital - Credit: Archant

Just four extra patients tipped Northwick Park to crisis point, a report has revealed, months after an MP asked for an enquiry into A&E closures.

Andy Slaughter raised the issue in Parliament. File picture: PA Wire

Andy Slaughter raised the issue in Parliament. File picture: PA Wire - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

Andrew Slaughter, Labour MP for Hammersmith, pushed for an enquiry into the impact on emergency departments following the closure of Hammersmith and Central Middlesex’s casualty departments in September last year.

The report, which has only surfaced now, showed the “biggest impact” was at Northwick Park where predictions that only 12 out of 18 new patients were infact 16, meaning they were short of four beds a day.

Nor did they anticipate that patients would stay a day longer than predicted, resulting in a bed deficit over 20 beds.

Mr Slaughter said: “I pushed for an enquiry by NHS England that was supposed to report by January. I kept asking after it and getting no response but assumed they put it off until after the election because it’s bad news. Health services denied knowing anything about it two weeks ago. By chance a meeting with the head of the NHS England for London on the same day, it turns out they did put it on their website.”

He added: “However there are lessons to be learnt from this and the anticipated closures of A&E’s. Receiving hospitals can’t keep up with the demand.

“You must do a proper review of health needs in London before you think about doing any other closures.

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“What’s going to happen when they close bigger hospitals like Ealing? That’s going to cause bigger problems isn’t it?”

Last December, London North West Healthcare NHS (LNWH) Trust who run the hospital, opened a £21 million new casualty unit to cope with an increase of patients following the closure of the A&E department at Central Middlesex Hospital in September.

The closure was a result of the government’s controversial ‘Shaping a healthier future plans’ which saw Hammersmith also lose its casualty unit with plans to axe the A&E unit at Charing Cross hospital.

Proposal to close the A&E department at Ealing Hospital were shelved but it’s maternity unit will go, bearing more pressure on Northwick Park.

A spokeswoman for LNWH said: “The report by NHS England was submitted to North West London last week and we published it the following day. The report is dated July 2015.

“That report was not hidden. It was presented to the MPs – including Andy Slaughter – at a recent meeting with the NHS, was referred to in an answer to a parliamentary question, has been taken to CCG Governing Body meetings and placed on the CCG websites and the NW London NHS website.

“The report does say that on average there were four more patients a day admitted to Northwick Park than anticipated and also that their average length of stay was a day long than predicted. As a consequence other beds had to be found, which happened and that subsequently improved A&E performance.

“The report also says that generally the modelling of expected number of patients was accurate and that the evidence suggests the A&E changes were implemented safely and led to improved staffing.

“The maternity unit at Ealing was closed at the start of July. Capacity and staffing has increased at other units which means women across North West London are now getting an increased quality of maternity care.”