Central Middlesex A&E to close permanently today

We have already expressed our deep concern about the results from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection of Northwick Park Hospital – which is set to become the borough’s main A&E hub when the Central Middlesex unit closes.

Under plans rubber stamped by the Tory Lib Dem Coalition Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, Northwick Park is expected to have to cater for many more patients from September 10 when the A&E unit at Central Middlesex, which currently treats 10,000 Brent patients, is due to close.

However, England’s health watchdog the CQC revealed, in a report that was released last month, that Northwick Park’s overall performance ‘required improvement’ and that its critical care service was deemed ‘inadequate’.

It is crucial that the recommendations as set out in the CQC report to improve Northwick Park Hospital as a matter of urgency.

NHS bosses were also summoned to a Brent Council scrutiny committee last night to face questions from councillors over the findings in the watchdog’s report.

In the critical report, North West London Hospitals Trust were told by the CQC that the Northwick Park A&E service did not have enough staff to provide safe care, was unable to meet the 4-hour waiting time target and did not have sufficient protocols in place.

The probe also found that patient flow through the hospital was not good enough and that pressures on critical care units were such that patients were often discharged too early, occasionally resulting in patients having to be readmitted.

Following the inspection, the CQC ordered the trust to make a number of improvements, including making sure there are enough staff and systems are in place to assess and monitor the quality of the service provided in A&E.

We cannot tolerate a situation where Brent residents are left with sub-standard health and emergency services – especially when this hospital is going to be a main hub if Central Middlesex A&E unit is closed.

In addition, transport issues to Northwick Park hospital remain unresolved with TfL refusing to look at improving transport links to Northwick Park Hospital.

 

Brent Labour marches with campaigners for the A&E at Central Middlesex Hospital which is threatened with permanent closure

Brent Labour Councillors along with London Assembley Member Navin Shah joined campaigners in a march from the Jubilee clock tower in Harlesden to Central Middlesex Hospital.

If you would like be more involved in the campaign, this link has a few materials that you can use and practically do today! LINK

When words can be twisted and manipulated to infer something that isn’t the case

I have noticed that an attack piece has been put out by the Willesden and Brent Times about Brent Council not campaigning against the proposal to close A&E permanently at Central Middlesex Hospital. This is the quote that was supplied to the local paper when they contacted the Group on the issue:

“Brent Labour has given its full support to the campaign against the Coalition’s plans. Labour Councillors condemned the plans in the Council Chamber and have been working with the community to raise awareness of the issue, including writing to Andrew Lansley, raising the issue with residents on the doorstep and we agreed to meet campaigners weeks ago. Both Cllr Butt and myself will address the march against the closures on 15th September. However, it is difficult to use Brent Council resources to back campaign is because unlike in Ealing and Hammersmith and Fulham, there is no cross party support for the campaign. Both the Lib Dems and Conservatives in Brent have refused to criticise the plans put forward by their own Government. We will continue to campaign on this issue as a wider Brent Labour Party.”

This was what the Willesden and Brent Times printed;

Cllr Krupesh Hirani, Brent Council’s lead member for adults and health, claimed it was “difficult” to back the campaign as there is no cross-party support.

He added: “Both the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives in Brent have refused to criticise the plans put forward by their own Government.

“We will continue to campaign on this issue as Brent Labour Party.

The changing of one sentence  (highlighted in bold) and manipulating the term “difficult” used in my sentence by the paper means that it could be read that Labour Councillors are not supporting campaigners. The issue is not whether Brent Labour supports the campaign or not, we do.

The issue is whether we use taxpayer resources, or Labour Party resources. So far, we have opted to use Labour Party resources. This is because it is difficult to justify using Council resources to campaign in cases where there is not cross party agreement.

Otherwise, the Labour Party could just abuse its position as the leading party in Brent and use taxpayer money to campaign on other issues that we believe are damaging the prospects of people in Brent, like for example, the trebling of tuition fees and the Government’s deficit reduction plan.

Poll on Central Middlesex Hospital A&E

I’ve created an online poll on the closure of Central Middlesex Accident and Emergency (A&E) services. These responses will be collated and sent to the Shaping a Healthier consultation that is currently under way. Click the Survey link below:

 

Take Our Survey!

 

Open letter from Councillor James Allie – Alperton Ward, Brent

It is with great sadness that after more than 10 years as a Liberal Democrat Councillor, this week I have resigned my membership of the party. I joined the Liberal Democrats because I wanted to help make Britain a fairer, greener and more equal country. I no longer believe that the Liberal Democrat Party can make this happen. They have betrayed the values that I once shared with them.

However, I do believe that the Labour Party, under their new Leader of Brent Council Muhammed Butt along with Ed Miliband in Westminster, shares my values and that I can as part of a Labour administration continue to work for the people of Brent.

I find that I am unable to lend my support to the devastating policies the Coalition is inflicting on Britain. In particular I have been sickened by the hypocritical things the Liberal Democrats do and say here in Brent.While my feelings about this have built up over the past two years, there are three issues that have finally pushed me to take this decision:

  1. The people I represent in Alperton are struggling more than ever under this government, but the Liberal Democrat Leadership in Westminster is prioritising reform of the House of Lords instead of a plan for economic growth.
  2. The closure of the A&E at Central Middlesex Hospital under this government is an astonishing betrayal. Sarah Teather campaigned to keep the A&E when it was not under threat of closure. Now she is in government closing it. I am only sorry that I trusted her back then and I am sure that a number of her constituents feel the same way.
  3. Paul Lorber also knows very well that had the Lib Dems won the Local Election in 2010 they would have faced the same pressure to close the six libraries in Brent. It is the Coalition cuts to local government that are causing this problem and Cllr. Lorber’s posturing on the issue is just an insult to the library campaigners and the people of Brent.

I recognise that some of my constituents in Alperton will feel let down by my decision. I apologise to them if they feel I ought to have nailed my colours to the mast more firmly before the election. Equally I trust that many of them voted for me because they knew of the hard work that I have done as a councillor over the years.  I pledge to them that I will work harder than ever to improve the lives of everyone who lives in Alperton. I know that there are many people who voted Lib Dem at the last election and indeed many Lib Dem members who feel as betrayed as I do by the party’s record in the coalition. I urge them to join me and to join the Labour Party.

Regards,

Councillor James Allie

 

Sarah Teather a no show at Parliamentary debate on local hospitals

Maybe there was a rational reason why the Tory Liberal Minister could not attend the debate and vote on the NHS and local hospitals.

However, it is good that attention was paid to Central Middlesex Hospital in the debate.

Barry Gardiner MP for Brent North said,

Barry Gardiner: Thank you, Sir. I shall try to respect your advice.

In November 2011, the following announcement appeared on the Central Middlesex hospital website:

“A and E at Central Middx Hospital is temporarily closing overnight between 7 pm and 8 am starting from Monday 14 November 2011.

The urgent care centre next to A and E will remain open 24 hrs a day 7 days a week to treat patients with minor injuries and illness.

We are making this temporary change to ensure we continue to provide a safe service to patients during the winter months.”

In those three paragraphs, we hear twice over that that overnight closure is temporary, which gave minimal comfort to my constituents in Brent who used the facility. The overnight closure is indeed temporary. On 2 July, a consultation entitled “Shaping a healthier future” was launched in north-west London, and residents can submit their views until 8 October this year. The consultation, promoted by a transitional body called NHS North West London, aims to centralise and rationalise hospital services in the area. Each proposal outlined in the consultation includes the closure of the A and E at Central Middlesex—not overnight provision, but the 24-hour facility—for good.

The motion speaks of

“the growing gap between Ministers’ statements and what is happening in the NHS”.

I may have trouble agreeing with that, because it depends on which Minister and which statements. The Minister of State, Department for Education, the hon. Member for Brent Central (Sarah Teather), received an e-mail from me today advising her that, if called to speak, I would quote her in this evening’s debate. I wanted to do so, because she made the following three statements. First:

“The Tories would be a disaster for the NHS, they plan a part privatised service”.

The second quotation:

“These cuts will hit the poorest and most vulnerable hardest”.

The third quotation:

“The government must take urgent steps to safeguard our local NHS”.

Those three quotes date respectively from 2003, 2007 and 2007, when the hon. Lady was campaigning to keep open the accident and emergency centre at Central Middlesex hospital—campaigning for something which she, in her government, is now closing. No wonder her latest comment is:

“This flawed consultation, which does not allow residents to say that they want to save the A and E, is a kick in the teeth for all local people.”

I do not speak Parseltongue—I do not understand it—but I deplore the pretence of opposing a policy that you are pushing through in government. That is really disgraceful.

Even Tory MP for Ealing, Angie Bray MP spoke out against what is happening. She said,

Angie Bray: As my right hon. Friend is aware, the proposal is to downgrade four accident and emergency departments across London that are all right beside my constituency. Does he agree with my constituents that losing four accident and emergency departments is disproportionate and will mean a significant loss of service for them locally?