Mansfield Health Commission Report published

After controversial national changes to the NHS, Brent contributed to a major independent review led by top lawyer Michael Mansfield QC.

The Independent Healthcare Commission for North West London, led by Mr Mansfield, spoke to lots of residents and considered hundreds of pages of evidence and the final report has now been published.

The main findings are highly critical of the process of reorganising NHS services across North West London, including closing down Accident and Emergency centres at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex hospitals, and concentrating more services in other hospitals, including Northwick Park.

The report shows how wrong it was to shut these centres before it had first improved other services designed to relieve pressure on Accident and Emergency services. I’m also concerned that there isn’t a proper recognition of how quickly the population is growing, and how much NHS provision we really need.  It’s important now that we learn those lessons, and focus on supporting Northwick Park and other NHS services in helping local people remain healthy.  In future, any such changes need to be designed in greater collaboration with local councils.

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Public event to discuss the future of Central Middlesex Hospital – Thursday 17th July 2014

The Brent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) ishosting a public meeting is to help in designing the services for Central Middlesex Hospital.

The event on Thursday,17th July at Hilton London Wembley, 5:30-8:00pm will be for Brent residents as well as the wider affected populations across North West London to hear and share their views on the service designs.

Please see flyer: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxA67dNyvDUqRXpUMjhvZkxKS2pKNlVLQ04ybzJxeEpudF9N/edit?usp=sharing

 

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

Interesting Articles

I do tend to tweet a lot (follow @Krupesh4Brent!). Now and again, I retweet interesting articles I’ve read on the web. Here are the last 10 [politically relevant] articles I have linked;

  • Cuts will bleed Council reserves dry in 5 years says Senior Tory – LINK – Brent has traditionally had low levels of reserves. That it is why it is financially important that in an era of increased risks to Brent Council, we keep sufficient reserves to cover those risks.
  • Disability rights groups protest at DWP against Paralympics sponsor Atos – LINK – Atos is a French IT company that carry out Work Capability Assessments with disabled people. Unfortunately, the Labour Party is not innocent in all of this as we did as award the original contract to Atos, but pressure to attack benefits from the current Government has exacerbated things. The Coalition has gone even further by naming Atos as a main contractor for carrying assessments for disabled people’s Personal Independence Payment (PIP) entitlement. PIP is the benefit that will replace the Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
  • Mark Ferguson on LabourList on a Lab / Lib Coalition being a non-starter – LINK
  • Save Central Middlesex Hospital’s A&E – LINK – The Brent Labour Party has provided campaign materials for people to join in on the campaign against the current proposal that will permanently close the A&E Department serving the most deprived part of the Borough.
  • Fleet Street Fox’s article on tax and cuts to disabled people – LINK
  • Lib Dem Peer says their Party should consider disposing Nick Clegg – LINK
  • Mark Steel on Atos – LINK
  • Retiring Andrew Strauss may bat for the Conservatives at the next election – LINK – after quitting cricket for good, the ex-England captain is being touted as a future Tory MP.
  • Welsh health survey: One in three take no exercise – LINK – This is an article related to Wales, but it is a trend I am very worried about. The positive effects of regular physical exercise are well documented.
  • Caught Yellow Handed – LINK – I was reminded last week about this document highlighting Lib Dem Hypocrisy through their actions in Parliament and their leaflets and campaign work in their constituencies. Brent Central Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather has a starring role.
ATOS PROTEST BY ECAP
ATOS PROTEST BY ECAP (Photo credit: Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty)

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

 

Serious incident concerning 6,000 X-Rays at Urgent Care Centre at Central Middlesex Hospital

The Urgent Care Centre at Centre Middlesex Hospital under the hospital reconfiguration plans for North West London is due to remain and stay open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. With Accident and Emergency services unlikely to remain at Central Middlesex Hospital, it will play an even more important role in servicing the needs of people in Brent. The Urgent Care Centre at Central Middlesex Hospital is currently outsourced to Care UK, who are a private company.

The Guardian reported in April 2012 that 6,000 X-rays in the possession of Care UK from Central Middlesex Hospital had not been processed. It was logged as a serious incident and investigated.

It was revealed at the recent Health Partnerships Overview and Scrutiny meeting that Care UK knew about the unprocessed X-rays for two weeks and only took an urgent course of action once NHS Brent found out and pressed them on this issue. The NHS Brent representative at the meeting said that they were ‘disappointed’ with Care UK’s response. Sadly, a Care UK representative did not attend the meeting.

Furthermore, it was revealed that the contract does not allow NHS Brent to enforce any fines or penalties on Care UK for their misdemeanour. This lesson must be learned and a penalty should be included in the next contract. Alternative providers must also be explored.

Key tests that North West London Hospital reconfiguration should be subject to

Labour MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham MP said in a recent Parliamentary debate that I blogged on earlier on Health that…

In 2010, the Secretary of State set out four tests that all proposed reconfigurations had to pass. They related to support from general practitioners, strengthened public and patient engagement, clear clinical evidence and support for patient choice. He said:

“Without all those elements, reconfigurations cannot proceed.”

So let me ask the Minister: does he think that the A and E units closing at Ealing, Hammersmith, Charing Cross and Central Middlesex pass that test? How about St Helier, King George, Newark and Rugby?

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?

Health Partnerships Overview and Scrutiny and North West London Hospital Reconfiguration

Dr Mark Spencer, Lead Medical Director for Shaping a Healthier Future which proposes to make Central Middlesex Hospital into an Elective Hospital rather a Major Hospital was at the Health Partnerships Overview and Scrutiny meeting last night at Brent Town Hall. He said that no decision had been finalised. However, he admitted that there would only be change to the proposals and preferred option A if something has been left out or if there was a gap identified somewhere that needed to be filled.

Sadly, it appears that there is little room for manoeuvre on these proposals.