Review into A&E plans at Central Middlesex Hospital is ‘opportunity’ for campaigners

Cllr Muhammed Butt (right) addresses the meeting called by Unison (Picture: Jonathan Goldberg)

Cllr Muhammed Butt (right) addresses the meeting called by Unison (Picture: Jonathan Goldberg) - Credit: Archant

An independent review into plans to close the accident and emergency at Central Middlesex Hospital is an “opportunity” for the public to voice their concerns, says a campaign group.

Brent Council leader Cllr Muhammed Butt announced on Monday that he will be addressing his doubts to the panel, set up to examine the proposals.

Campaigners are calling on the public to follow suit to keep up the fight to save the unit at the hospital in Acton Lane, Harlesden.

Sarah Cox of anti-cuts group Brent Fightback said: “It’s an opportunity. The original consultation was widely felt to be inadequate and it’s in the context of a national crisis in A&E services and ambulance services.”

Under wider plans for north-west London, called Shaping a Healthier Future (SAHF), the hospital would lose its casualty ward, becoming an urgent care centre.

But after meeting with shadow secretary of state for health Andy Burnham at the hospital on Friday – which was the 65th anniversary of the National Health Service – Cllr Butt outlined his concerns in a letter to the MP.

He said: “Accident and emergency at Northwick Park Hospital [in Harrow] is unable to cope with current demand. How can I be sure it will cope in the future?”

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Mrs Cox welcomed his involvement, after campaigners previously questioned Brent Council’s level of support, saying: “It’s a step in the right direction.”

At Friday’s public meeting called by Unison’s Brent and Harrow health branch, at Bridge Park Community Leisure Centre in Brentfield, Stonebridge, Patrick Vernon, former senior NHS director, said the “clinical case for closure has not yet been made”.

Dr Mark Spencer, SHAF’s medical director, said: “Improvements to services in the community are a fundamental part of the proposals and we have always made clear that those improvements to services outside hospitals – such as GP facilities – will happen before the major changes to hospitals under this programme occur.”

The panel will report back to Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt by September.