Plan to ‘transform’ NHS could lead to downgrade of major London hospitals

Council leaders have refused to sign up to a plan to “transform” NHS services amid fears two major London hospitals, Ealing and Charing Cross, are to be downgraded and will lose their A&E units and other acute services, the Guardian can reveal.

Plans being developed around England to tackle the NHS funding crisis involve increasing focus on “virtual” and outpatient care, and internal documents show there are plans in north-west London to close or downgrade its acute hospitals from nine to five.

Both west London hospitals are highly valued by local residents and have been the subject of campaigns to save them when they were threatened with closures in the past.

Leaders at both Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham councils say they are determined that these hospitals should remain open with their A&E and operating surgeries and so have refused to sign up to the north-west London sustainability and transformation plan (STP), which is one of 44 such plans in development around England.

Critics of the plans fear that up to 500 acute beds could be lost if these hospitals are closed or downgraded.


Full story in The Guardian 26 August 2016