Hospitals in North West London, serving Brent residents “will almost certainly” have to close due to NHS cuts

Hospital
Hospital (Photo credit: José Goulão)

The BBC is reporting that the medical director of the largest commissioning cluster in the capital has said hospitals in north west London “will almost certainly” have to close.

The cluster has been tasked with saving about £1bn over four years.

NHS NWL serves a population of 1.9 million people in eight boroughs – Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster.

It currently has a budget of about £4bn a year and has been tasked with cutting about £1bn from its budget by 2014-15.

NHS North West London (NWL) medical director Mark Spencer said: “We have more hospitals per head of population, more hospital beds per head of population and travel time to your local hospital is much shorter than anywhere else in the country. And that’s an inefficient system.”

When asked if hospitals will have to close, he said: “Almost certainly.

“Some of these will continue as diagnostic and outpatient facilities but it’s likely some of them won’t have hospital beds in them as they do now.”

When asked whether NHS NWL will have fewer hospitals with accident and emergency (A&E) services, he replied: “I think that’s very likely.”

Unfortunately, closing A&E services mean that it takes longer for people to get emergency treatment and this could be the difference between life and death.

In relation to other services, the NHS Bill passed through Parliament yesterday means that up to 49% of resources can be used privately meaning that there could be less resources available for the public.

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Labour calls on Sarah Teather and the Brent Liberal Democrats to Drop The Bill

The Brent Labour Party was joined by Shadow Minister for Public Health Diane Abbott MP on Thursday 23rd February in a campaign to Save The NHS. Hundreds signed the Labour petition to save the NHS in Willesden Green. Doctors, nurses and patients all around the country have called for the Government’s flagship Health and Social Care Bill to be dropped.

The Bill would allow provision for 49% of public facilities to be used by the private sector and would allow services to be delivered by “any willing provider”. This means that hospitals will be able use around half their hospital beds and theatre time for private patients and could lead to waiting lists going up as NHS beds are being used by private patients.

Instead of wasting billions on this damaging reorganisation, Labour would save this money and protect the jobs of 6,000 nurses. Diane Abbott come to Brent to personally hand in a letter to Government Minister Sarah Teather MP and called on her to use her influence to do the right thing for patients in this country and Drop the Bill.

There is overwhelming anger and opposition in Brent to the Tory Liberal Government’s top down reorganisation of the NHS. This is exactly what David Cameron said he wouldn’t do before he became Prime Minister. People don’t want a health service that puts profit before patients. They want to know that in their time of need, the NHS will be there for them.

 

A week in the life of Cllr Hirani

Being a Councillor takes a lot of commitment. Here is what I did last week to give you a flavour.

Monday

I spent Sunday evening going through the Council’s budget for 2012/2013 Budget. On Monday evening, the Labour Group were meeting at Brent Town Hall to discuss the Budget so I wanted to be ready with questions and raise any issues arising.

I do also work and have a full time job working for a national disability charity and with the changes that are happening in this sector it is a demanding role. Before I start work I go to the Swaminarayan Temple in Stanmore where my father is a trustee. My Labour Group meeting was at 7.30pm so I worked from 9am to 7pm. I managed to squeeze in a lunch time gym session as I do like to keep fit and the building I work in has a gym. After work, it was straight to the Town Hall and the meeting finished around 10pm.

Tuesday

Another day at work in the office. Squeezed in another gym session. I had no Council meetings in the evening so I took the opportunity to sit down in front of my computer and work until the late hours of the evening on casework. Most of the casework I pick up is from the doorstep. A constituent who lives nearby also came over to my house because she was flying out to India and wanted assistance in buying travel insurance. I was happy to help and hope her trip goes well!

Wednesday

I worked in the office until late afternoon. I had already worked more hours than I was required to by my employer so I took the opportunity to leave the office and meet with Council transport officers in the Neasden area of my ward. I wanted to point out a location where I believe there should be double yellow lines as the sharp bend coupled with cars parking in the spot makes visibility very poor and it is an accident waiting to happen.

In the evening, I went to the American Embassy. I was invited by the Ambassador to an event celebrating the 15 year anniversary of Operation Black Vote. I participated in the organisation’s Parliamentary Shadowing Scheme and shadowed David Lammy MP. He was also at the reception so it was great to have the chance to catch up and have a chat. I also met and spoke to Rushanara Ali MP, Diane Abbott MP (who I was to come to Brent the next day), Lee Jasper, Garth Crooks and Paul Elliott.  I had to rush back from the embassy to get back to Brent. My mates had booked a 930pm pitch at Alperton goals so I finished the evening with a night of 5-a-side football.

Thursday

I worked from home. As I had a work related meeting in central London to get to. I broke away for an hour as part of my break before my meeting to join Brent Labour’s campaign in the Willesden Green area to Save the NHS. We were joined by Diane Abbott MP who is the Shadow Public Health Minister, who handed in a letter calling on Sarah Teather to use her influence to Drop the Bill.

Friday

Again another day in the office. There are usually no Council meeting or Party meetings on Friday evenings so I got the opportunity to have a night out. That Tinseltown milkshake was well earned!

Saturday

After a work free Friday evening, the battery was charged for a weekend of campaign activity. I had time for breakfast with the family in the morning. I went on the doorstep in my Ward and knocked on doors from around 1pm as I do every Saturday. This week we went to the Willesden part of my ward and knocked on doors on Riffell Road and the Marley Walk estate. I had a member of the Party who lives in my ward and extra help is always welcome!

After I finished, I went to Dollis Hill Ward where there is a Council by-election to help with the campaign there. Parvez Ahmed is Labour’s candidate there and he will make a great colleague on the Council.

Sunday

I actioned the casework I collected on the doorstep on Saturday. I drew up an action plan and mapped out roads that I have not been out to since I was elected. I worked out that in 12 weeks time, the whole of Dudden Hill will have been canvassed since I was elected and some roads at least twice!

I then spent the afternoon, a good three hours, out with Parvez in Dollis Hill Ward knocking on doors. Afterwards, I paid home visits to two residents in the Neasden part of my ward regarding some casework. Sunday evening was again spent playing football at Alperton Goals. My mates were short one player for a 5-a-side game so I stepped in!

And so it was ready for another week. Bring on Monday!

 

Brent GP List Validation Excercise

NHS Brent were present at a Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting which I attended at Brent Town Hall last week. Many may have read in the local press about a recent process that NHS Brent undertook to validate the names which they deemed to be ‘inactive’ and take out names that did not respond to letters from them.

Brent has a fluid population and it may well be that the NHS is spending money on patients that no longer live in Brent. This is something the NHS cannot afford given the cuts that it is being forced to make by the Coalition Government.

I asked a question to NHS Brent on the practicals… ie. if I felt ill tomorrow and wanted to see my GP and found out my name had been struck off their list, what would happen. I was reassured that it will be extremely simple for me to simply get treated and re-register with my GP.

At the beginning of this meeting, the context of these changes was introduced where it was mentioned that the NHS in Brent has to carry out its duties with fewer resources. So secondly, I asked whether this context had changed given the Prime Minister’s announcement last week following the Government’s ‘listening excercise’, to which the answer was simply NO.

Hundreds in Dudden Hill say no to Tory-Liberal NHS reforms

In the space of two hours, over 300 people signed a petition opposing changes to the NHS coming from the Tory-Liberals.

As part of Labour London Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone’s day of action on the NHS, the Brent Labour Party were talking to people at the Saturday Church End Market in Dudden Hill Ward and many were concerned with the Government changes to our NHS.

The way the Government has gone about these changes has been a total fiasco. It has failed the first test of reform with Doctors, Nurses and other health professionals opposed to Andrew Lansley’s personal pet project manufactured in partnership with Lib Dem Minister Paul Burstow.

I think the Tory Liberals are finally coming round and realising that the change originally proposed was a change that would make Health provision in this country worse, not better and that is why they embarked on a pause and reflect period in their reforms. This is welcome. However, I believe the Health Bill is rotten to the core and if the Coalition are serious about making positive reforms, they need to withdraw the current Bill from Parliament and start again with a new Health Bill from scratch.