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.

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.