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Investigation launched into hospital trust's A&E waiting time figures

PUBLISHED: 17:48 21 November 2014 | UPDATED: 18:22 21 November 2014

Northwick Park Hospital's £21m A&E unit has to open

Northwick Park Hospital's £21m A&E unit has to open

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Health chiefs have launched an investigation after figures show patients at Northwick Park and Ealing Hospital A&E units face the worst waiting times in the country.

Central Middlesex Hospital has lost its A&E services in SeptemberCentral Middlesex Hospital has lost its A&E services in September

The probe will look into whether the closure of Central Middlesex Hospital’s casualty department is linked to the surge in patients waiting longer than the four hour target.

Hammersmith Hospital also lost its casualty unit as part of the controversial Shaping a Healthier Future plans.

The latest figures shows just 75 per cent patients at both hospitals, which are managed by London North West Healthcare NHS Trust (LNWH), were seen within four hours – 20 per cent below the NHS target.

NHS England, a body which aims to improve the health outcomes for people in the county, have launched the investigation.

Cllr Muhammed Butt plans to grill health chiefsCllr Muhammed Butt plans to grill health chiefs

An NHS England spokesman told the Times: “We are conducting a review into A&E performance at North West London hospitals that were affected by the recent reconfiguration programme as part of our normal best practice procedures following any such changes.”

The trust had estimated the closure at CMH would result in five more admission per day at NPH instead of the 15 they are currently experiencing.

In addition, the opening date of a £21million casualty unit at NPH has been put back twice with health bosses admitting it may not be ready in time for the winter snap when the number of admissions rise.

In August, NPH was told its casualty department required improvement following an inspection by Prof Sir Mike Richards, of the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The CQC ordered the trust to make a number of changes including making sure there are enough staff and systems are in place to assess and monitor the quality of the service provided in A&E.

The following month, Brent Council called for the closure of CMH’s casualty unit to be put on ice until NPH was up to scratch but the axe fell on the unit on September 10.

The council will now grill NHS bosses at a scrutiny committee meeting next week.

Councillors will be asking why the new A&E has not opened and will ask the trust to explain why the promised improvements to local GP facilities, which was supposed to prevent unnecessary visits to casualty, have not been delivered either.

Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, said: “Our worst fears about the effects of closing local A&Es before the expansion of Northwick Park was ready have come true.

“Our residents now face some of the longest A&E waiting times in the country and immediate action needs to be taken to resolve this as we are talking about life and death emergency treatment. Further delays to the A&E improvements at Northwick Park will only make the problem worse.

“Our residents deserve the best healthcare and we need to understand why the reconfiguration of local health services has been botched so badly and get answers about how the trust plans to improve the care they offer urgently.”

The scrutiny meeting will take place at Brent Civic Centre in Engineer’s Way, Wembley, on Wednesday at 7pm.

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