An independent survey commissioned by Ealing Council and Hammersmith and Fulham Council has found widespread opposition to planned cuts to hospital services.
The survey led by independent market researcher BMG Research, which canvassed views on health and social care services, asked 1,514 residents about NHS North West London’s Shaping a Healthier Future plan.
The results highlight overpowering evidence that the NHS plans lack the support of local people. It found that:
- 90% disagree with plans to close A&E departments at Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals
- 90% disagree with plans to cut 500 hospital beds across the north-west London region
- 94% believe one of the essential features of an A&E should be to treat major injuries or conditions
- 85% are against the downgrade of hospitals’ from major to local
- 92% agree blue light ambulances is an essential feature of A&E units
- 74% of people said they, a family member or friend had visited a hospital in the last 12 months.
- 83% are extremely/very concerned about the longer travel times to access A&Es and other hospital services
- 81% agree with the councils’ objective to protect services at Charing Cross and Ealing Hospitals and in particular to stop the closure of the A&Es
- 82% have not at all/not much been involved in the decision to make the changes to healthcare services in North West London.
These findings come as the momentum to oppose the NHS plans gains traction throughout the boroughs.
Residents will be out in force this Saturday as part of the protest marches from both Southall Park and Acton Park leading to a rally on Ealing Common.
The march from Southall will meet at Southall Park at 11am and travel past Ealing Hospital, through Hanwell and along New Broadway to Ealing Common.
While the march from Acton will meet at Acton Park at 11.30am and travel along The Vale and Acton High Street to Ealing Common. The rally will then begin at Ealing Common at 1pm.
NHS has plans to close the blue-light A&Es and other vital services at Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals and have already closed maternity and paediatrics departments at Ealing.
Council leader Julian Bell said: “We’re not at all surprised with these damning findings. The growing demands for healthcare in north west London means we should be increasing investment. If these plans go ahead people in Ealing will be further away from emergency treatment even under ‘blue light’ conditions when every second counts. We are told that these plans are in our best interests but know that they are driven by finances, not patient care or choice.
“We won’t accept this second rate service or be bystanders as our hospital services are dismantled and the council will continue to fight these plans all the way. I will be writing to the Secretary of State for Health and Sir Simon Stevens to ask them to listen to local people and halt these deeply flawed plans immediately.”
To support the opposition of the NHS plans to cut critical health services, residents and people who work in the areas are being encouraged to attend a rally this Saturday, 30 September.
Councillor Bell added: “I hope as many local people join the march and rally taking place in Ealing this weekend and sign the petition to save our hospitals.”
Residents are also urged to sign the petition launched by Ealing and Hammersmith and Fulham Councils. The petition is available online at www.sohpetition.co.uk. It is due to close early next year at which point it will be delivered to the government. Visit www.ealing.gov.uk/soh for more information and to sign-up for updates.