Public Outcry Grows over A&E Closures
Residents pack local church to plan fight for hospitals
Hundreds of local residents packed into Hammersmith's Rivercourt Methodist Church on Thursday evening, to discuss how to fight NHS plans to close A&E departments at Charing Cross and Hammersmith Hospital.
Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter, who organised the meeting, urged the local community to come together to fight the plans. He has also raised the issue this morning, Friday June 29, in the House of Commons and says he is expecting a response from Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.
You can read a full statement from Andy Slaughter on the NHS proposals here.
Anger among local residents attending the meeting was reflected in their tweets on Twitter, hashtag #savehfnhs with Joe Harrod saying: "Sheer madness - Hammersmith and Fulham to lose both A&E departments". Melanie Smallman said: "Just checked Google maps - it will take one hour 12 minutes to get to my nearest A&E under current plans." And Margybargy summed up people's feelings saying: "For heaven's sake don't have an accident round here if they are closing ALL the local A&E departments."
The meeting came as plans to close four Accident & Emergency (A&E) units in North West London, including those at Charing Cross and Hammersmith, moved a step closer with the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts agreeing to formally propose closing them at a meeting in Westminster Central Hall on Monday.
Charing Cross and Hammersmith would both lose their A&Es under the NHS preferred option and the hyper-acute stroke unit at Charing Cross would also go. The NHS consultation begins in July.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council, which has promised to fight the plans "tooth and nail" is also campaigning against the propoals and urging local people to make their views heard.
" The public outcry at these proposals has already been huge with almost 2,000 signatures on our petitions in less than a week,” says Cllr Marcus Ginn, H&F cabinet member for community care. "Changing NHS minds to reverse these plans is not going to be easy and we want to show them the real human impact of the changes they are pushing."
The council has also launched a Facebook page where people can share their stories.
H&F council is also sending leaflets on the plans to every household in the borough, which have a poster on the back for people to put up in their windows to show their support.
June 29, 2012