Maternity unit faces the axe under plans that closed Central Middlesex Hospital’s A&E unit
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A maternity unit is set to be the next casualty of a controversial programme which led to the closure of the accident and emergency unit at Central Middlesex Hospital.
Ealing Hospital will lose its maternity services under the Shaping a Healthier Future (SAHF) plans which were rolled out earlier this year.
The plans, which also resulted in the closure of the casualty unit at Hammersmith Hospital, will also see Ealing Hospital stripped of its neonatal, paediatric and gynaecology departments.
Last month, Ealing NHS Trust, which manages the hospital, merged with North West Hospitals NHS Trust, which looks after Central Middlesex, Northwick Park and St Mark’s Hospitals, to save £19million.
The closure of the maternity unit comes six years after a £3million birth centre at Central Middlesex Hospital in Acton Lane, Park Royal, was axed just four years after opening due to a ‘lack of demand’.
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Ealing Hospital is claimed to have one of the highest birth rates in London leading to fears that other maternity units such as NPH could become too overcrowded with its closure.
Sarah Cox, a health campaigner from Harlesden, said: “It’s a massive mistake to close the unit at Ealing Hospital.
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“I knew it was on the cards and I just do not believe that Northwick Park will be able to cope. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”
NPH’s maternity unit has had a turbulent past with it being placed in special measures for a year in 2005 following the deaths of 10 mothers during a three year period.
A Healthcare Commission report found a number of failures at the ward contributed to nine of the 10 deaths.
In January 2012, the unit was criticised for not having enough consultants to deal with patients by their own trust and in August this year the Care Quality Commission ruled the unit inadequate.
A report stated women could not always summon the assistance they required and individual needs were not being met.
The CQC has ordered them to improve to ensure women received a safe and effective service.
Ms Cox added: “People will be taken out their home areas at a time when you need to feel comfortable and at home. To say it’s a clinical decision is an absolute lie, Of course it’s financially driven, all to do with cutting, cutting, cutting.”
Brent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group will finalise the timing of the closure at special meeting next week.
Dr Mohini Parmar, Ealing CCG chairwoman, said: ‘’These plans are about improving care for women across north west London and we can do this by increasing consultant cover and investing in six maternity units rather than the current seven.”