At an NHS Rally held over the bank holiday weekend in Acton, Labour's Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham announced that a Labour Government will immediately halt further changes to the NHS in north west London until a full consultation, based on clinical need rather than budget pressures has taken place.
Under ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ the current Government has ordered the closure of Ealing and Charing Cross A&Es, which would mean local people only having access to minor injuries units led by GPs not consultants, with no blue light ambulances service, no intensive care units attached and no anaesthetists present.
An incoming Labour government would halt the changes and conduct a full clinical review which would also look again at the proposals to close Ealing Hospital's Maternity Unit.
The ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ changes have already seen the Tory Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt close the A&E departments at Central Middlesex and Hammersmith, resulting in some of the worst A&E waiting times in the country in north west London.
Andy Burnham said: ‘One of the biggest failures of this Government has been the chaotic and damaging NHS closures in north west London. It’s no surprise waiting times are some of the worst in the country – remaining A&Es have been put under intolerable pressure, simply unable to absorb any more pressure.
‘With the planned review and downgrading of Ealing and Charing Cross, things could get even worse under the Tories, putting patient safety further at risk.
‘A Labour government will call an immediate halt to further changes to the NHS in north west London. We will launch a new clinical review that properly takes the views of local patients on board and prevents a full blown crisis developing across London’s hospitals. Patients in London simply can’t afford five more years of Tory hospital closures.’
If the Tory proposals to close Ealing and Charing Cross A&Es are not halted we would have three London Boroughs - the equivalent of a city the size of Leeds - without an A&E. This is madness and must be stopped. Andy Burnham's commitment to halt the closures and conduct a review if a Labour government is elected on Thursday is the only hope of saving our A&Es and maternity unit.
We need to elect a Labour government on Thursday to save the NHS and our local health services and so I would urge everyone to vote Labour. In Ealing you can vote to re-elect Virendra Sharma in Ealing Southall, Steve Pound in Ealing North and vote to elect Rupa Huq in the neck and neck marginal of Ealing Central and Acton. This key marginal will go a long way to deciding if Ed Miliband becomes our next Prime Minister and could be decided by a handful of votes and only a vote for Labour can save our NHS. Staying at home or voting for any other party will let the Tories win.