NHS Produces Factsheet for H&F on Closure Plan

Admits "services not operating as effectively as they should be"

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Shaping a Healthier Future

NHS North West London

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As part of its consultation on its proposals for the future of local health services, including the closure of Accident and Emergency departments at Charing Cross and Hammersmith hospitals, NHS North West London has produced a Factsheet specifically for residents of Hammersmith and Fulham.

The factsheet offers a summary of the proposals saying:

Increasingly, a number of different factors in Hammersmith and Fulham are making it very difficult for us to provide high quality services consistently. The population is growing and although the proportion of older people is currently smaller here than in other boroughs, this is predicted to increase between now and 2025.

Overall life expectancy in Hammersmith and Fulham is higher than London and national averages, and more people are projected to live with disability for longer periods of time. With 4 out of 10 households made up of single people, this puts additional pressure on services.

Our out-of-hospital services are not operating as effectively as they should be, reflected by Hammersmith and Fulham’s relatively high numbers of emergency admissions and use of accident and emergency (A&E). Our facilities are inadequate and we are working within an increasingly tight budget.

In response to this, our vision is to:
• Bring care nearer to you so that as much as possible can be delivered close to your home. As part of our plans, within three years we will be spending between £6 million and £8 million more per year on primary and community care staff, estates and IT in Hammersmith and Fulham.

• Centralise emergency hospital care onto five specialist sites across NW London so that more expert care is available more of the time.

• Incorporate all of this into one co-ordinated system of care so that all the organisations and facilities involved in caring for you can deliver high-quality care and an excellent experience, as much of the time as possible.

To achieve this we have proposed to:

• Deliver more services outside of hospitals, closer to people’s homes
• Change some services at the following hospitals – Central Middlesex, Charing Cross, Chelsea and Westminster, Ealing, Hammersmith, Hillingdon, Northwick Park, St Mary’s and West Middlesex.

While most healthcare activity would remain where it is now, and all nine NW London hospitals will have local hospital services including an urgent care centre and outpatients, the changes proposed would impact on some A&E, maternity and paediatric and hyper-acute services at some hospitals in north west London.

The factsheet says three options are being considered for our area:

Option A (preferred option)
This option has Chelsea and Westminster as a major hospital, Hammersmith Hospital as a specialist hospital and Charing Cross proposed as a local hospital.

Option B
This option has Charing Cross Hospital as a major hospital, Hammersmith Hospital as a specialist hospital and Chelsea and Westminster would be a local hospital.

Option C
This option has Chelsea and Westminster Hospital as one of five major hospitals in North West London, with Hammersmith as a specialist hospital and Charing Cross Hospital proposed as a local hospital.

Regarding the closure of A&E departments, it says:

Charing Cross Hospital already has an Urgent Care Centre (UCC) operating 24 hours a day and this would continue under all options. The A&E department at Hammersmith Hospital would become a UCC under all the options proposed.

UCCs are staffed by GPs and nurses and specialise in the treatment of patients with urgent illnesses and injuries and conditions that can be seen and treated without having to stay in hospital. Clinicians at UCCs are also skilled in stabilising patients who do need to be transferred to more specialist care.

Our clinical leaders are clear that the UCC at Charing Cross should see and treat patients within four hours, be led by primary care clinicians such as GPs, be linked with other services like the new ‘111’ non-emergency NHS number and have access to tests and specialist clinicians.

The kinds of health problems all urgent care centres would be able to treat include:
• Illnesses and injuries not likely to need a stay in hospital;
• X-rays and other tests;
• Minor fractures (breaks);
• Stitching wounds;
• Draining abscesses that don’t need a general anaesthetic; and
• Minor ear, nose, throat and eye infections.

Urgent care centres will see people and children of any age.

However, the factsheet also says:

It is important to note that urgent care centres do not treat problems such as major burns, head injuries, strokes, sickle-cell crisis, severe shortness of breath, heart failure, overdoses and self-harm. All these problems can be a sign of serious conditions that may need to be treated in a major hospital.

You can read the factsheet in full here.

The NHS Consultation, Shaping a Healthier Future lasts until October 8 and you can respond to the consultation online or request a full copy of the consultation document by emailing consultation@nw.london.nhs.uk, calling freephone number 0800 881 5209 or writing to FREEPOST SHAPING A HEALTHIER FUTURE CONSULTATION (This must be written in capital letters and on one line. You will not need a stamp.)

A further consultation roadshow is also being held by the NHS on September 19 from 2pm till 8pm and Fulham Broadway Methodist Church, 452 Fulham Road.