Ealing Council has joined Lewisham in launching legal action against the closure of its local A&Es.
North West London NHS want to replace A&Es at Ealing, Central Middlesex, Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals with Urgent Care Centres and downgrade other services. We mapped the bit of London in question a few months ago and there is a large hole in the middle that would be left without nearby trauma coverage. The council's press statement says
This would leave three London boroughs, which have a total population the size of Leeds, without a major hospital.
The council feels the closures aren't in the best interests of the local population. It claims there was inadequate consultation and engagement and a failure to properly take clinical evidence into account. If you feel the same, there's a march and rally on Saturday, starting from Southall Park at 11.30am and Acton Park at 12.30pm, meeting for a rally on Ealing Common at 2pm. The Evening Standard quotes a spokesmen for GPs in favour of the changes:
The court case will now mean a huge amount of extra work and resources at a time when there should be a major focus on what the NHS is actually there to do – namely, care for patients and improve local services.
Lewisham Council expects its challenge to be heard on three days in June or July.
This all comes at a time when it's becoming apparent that A&Es are under increasing pressure. Waiting time targets (already reduced) are not being met as an extra 4m patients a year are visiting A&Es across the country. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is today trying to pin the blame on changes to GPs' working hours, changed under Labour. However, the Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners this morning tweeted a link to a BMJ article from January, which found that increased A&E admissions were linked to a lack of access to social care.