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.


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?