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Council urges residents to back local hospital

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Hammersmith & Fulham Council is urging local residents

to help support Charing Cross Hospital in a major public consultation on the future of health care in London.

Four new major trauma centres dealing with the most major emergencies are proposed for the capital by Healthcare for London, together with a new network of specialist stroke

units which are designed to speed up access to life-saving treatment.

Charing Cross, in Fulham Palace Road has been rejected as an option for the trauma centre, with a lack of commitment to the site from Trust managers is given as one of the main reasons.

Instead, St Mary’s Paddington or the Royal Free Hospital is being proposed as the major trauma centre for west and north London.

However, Charing Cross is the main A&E centre not only for Hammersmith and Fulham, but also Ealing and Hounslow, and the council points out that assessment of the merits of each site did not include how difficult it is to get to each hospital in an emergency, especially if there were a major incident at Heathrow.

Charing Cross Hospital

Charing Cross has been proposed as a site for a specialist stroke unit, a move welcomed by local people. But a footnote in the consultation document hinted that this could be short-lived, with plans already being considered to move the stroke unit to St Mary’s in Paddington.

The council is concerned that extra travel time for stroke patients to St Mary’s rather than Charing Cross would be dangerous for patients and has secured a promise that there will be a full consultation if this plan is pursued.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council leader Stephen Greenhalgh wrote to Stephen Smith, chief executive of Imperial NHS Trust which runs both hospitals, asking for reassurances on the future of Charing Cross.

He asked why there was not more management commitment to Charing Cross and why the other two hospitals were given two years longer to meet the expected quality standards to qualify for consideration for the trauma centre.

Mr Smith replied that moving the stroke unit was a possibility. He said: “Should the stroke unit eventually be provided at St Mary’s, rather than Charing Cross, stroke patients would continue to be treated at Charing Cross after the hyper-acute phase.”

He said existing A&E services at Charing Cross would not be undermined and that investment in the future of the hospital continues. “The Trust is committed to provide comprehensive services to local people in each of our three main hospitals,” he added. “I am very proud of the services that Charing Cross hospital provides in terms of general trauma management.

" The consultation coincides with a period of significant investment in the hospital, including a new state-of-the-art super surgery at Charing Cross to complement its A&E provision and has recently been fitted with PET/CT scanner and a £2.5 million investment in specialist head and neck services.”

You can find out more about the proposals at Healthcare for London and have your say on the Consultation response form. The deadling for giving your response is May 8 and a summary of people's views will be published in summer.


April 15, 2009