Northwick Park Hospital admits casualty unit is treating twice as many patients as expected on some days

Revelation fuels fears it will be unable to cope when Central Middlesex Hospital’s A&E department closes

Health chiefs who plan to axe a casualty department have admitted that the remaining Accident and Emergency ward is already treating twice as many patients as expected on some days.

The admission by bosses at Northwick Park Hospital (NPH) has fuelled fears that it will be unable to cope once Central Middlesex Hospital (CMH) closes its A&E unit for good.

Last week, NHS North West London, which commissions NHS services in the area, revealed, the axe would fall on CMH’s A&E as part of the “shaping a healthier future” programme.

Last November, CMH in Acton Lane, Park Royal, slashed the opening hours of its A&E by half, closing it at 7pm.

In the meantime NPH in Watford Road, Sudbury, has been treating up to twice as many people as expected on some days and has seen a surge of 30 per cent more A&E admissions.

A NWLHT spokesman told the Times: “Northwick Park Hospital has seen a 30 per cent increase in emergency hospital admissions over the last three years and a 20 per cent increase in A&E attendances. On some days we have seen twice as many people as we would normally expect to see.”

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Sarah Cox, a health campaigner and member of Brent’s anti-cuts group Brent Fightback told the Times the imminent closure will have a huge knock on effect on NPH and St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, which has also been spared its casualty department.

She said: “CMH serves the poorest people in the borough with the most pressing health needs. Northwick Park is not easy to access so many residents will start using St Mary’s. It is vital to ensure that it is able to cope as well.”

Tony Antoniou MBE, chairman of Brent Safer Neighbourhood Team, said he was forced to visit a “chaotic” Northwick Park recently shen his mother-in-law broke her arm.

He told the Times: “There was nowhere to sit down and it took an age for us to be seen. People were bleeding in the corridors and bumping into each other. They are over subscribed so how can closing the borough’s other main A&E department be a good idea?”

A NWLHT spokesman said that, subject to planning permission, they had successfully applied for funding to redevelop the A&E department.

He added: “We have funding to build a bigger admissions unit, which will allow us to move patients out of A&E and into a bed more quickly. We hope this will lead to shorter waiting times and less crowding.”

A spokesman for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which manages St Mary’s, said: “We will work with our commissioners to ensure that the quality of care is improved and all settings are properly resourced.”