Top barrister to investigate impact of A&E closures on Brent residents
PUBLISHED: 16:38 11 December 2014 | UPDATED: 16:38 11 December 2014
A top barrister has been brought in to investigate the surge in A&E waiting times following the closure of casualty units at Central Middlesex and Hammersmith hospitals.
Michael Mansfield QC will head the probe which has been launched following the release of shocking statistics which showed patients waiting to be seen at casualty units at Northwick Park and Ealing faced the second longest waits in the country in October.
Both hospitals are run by the London North West Healthcare NHS Trust (LNWH).
The investigation has been commissioned by Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, and his counterparts in Hammersmith & Fulham, Ealing, and Hounslow in response to concerns over hospital services in their respective boroughs.
According to NHS figures just 67.8 per cent of A&E patients at both hospitals were being seen within four hours despite a government target of 95 per cent.
Mr Mansfield, who represented the family of murder victim Stephen Lawrence, will look in depth at the impact the A&E closures have had on services and the implication further proposals including the closure of the maternity unit in Ealing Hospital will have on residents.
The closures were a result of the controversial Shaping A Healthier Future programme rolled out across North west and West London by the NHS.
Cllr Butt said: “Brent residents now face the longest A&E waiting times in the country and immediate action needs to be taken to resolve this situation as we are talking about life and death emergency treatment.
“We will support the Independent Commission, and will be demanding answers from NHS bosses at our next scrutiny committee. West Londoners deserve the best healthcare and this joint review will be vital in shining a light on what has gone on with these botched A&E closures.”
Yesterday a new £21million casualty unit opened at Northwick Park Hospital after the launch date was put back twice.
A spokesman for Shaping A Healthier Future said: “We know how important the local NHS is — that’s why we are undertaking this clinically led, long-term programme of work to improve healthcare access and quality for local residents.
“The changes being made in north-west London are not made lightly and are the result of significant public consultation, extensive planning and an in-depth assurance process. As such we welcome any constructive input that will help residents further.”
Last month, NHS England, a body which aims to improve the health outcomes for people in the county, launched their own investigation into whether the increased waiting times is linked to the closures.
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