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Ealing Labour Leader condemns misleading NHS literature

NHS_Front_JPEG.jpgEaling’s Labour Leader has called for the NHS to withdraw a misleading leaflet which incorrectly identifies the nearest hospital for thousands of Ealing residents.

The leaflet tells local residents that Central Middlesex A&E is due to close on September 10th and where they should go in an emergency after that date

It will be distributed to local residents in Acton and incorrectly states that “The nearest Accident and Emergency departments are at Northwick Park Hospital, St Mary’s Hospital and Charing Cross Hospital.” It completely omits the A&E at Ealing Hospital, which will be the closest hospital for many of those affected.

Ealing Hospital’s A&E is due to be downgraded at some point in the future and campaigners fear this is a deliberate attempt by NHS bosses to run the hospital down in order to justify a closure.

Cllr Bell said

This leaflet should be withdrawn immediately. I don’t know whether this mistake has happened because the NHS are unsure where there hospitals are or whether they are deliberately trying to undermine Ealing Hospital. I’m not sure which case would be more worrying.

Local residents deserve an explanation especially as the NHS is forcing through a deeply unpopular programme of closures that local people have consistently said they are against.”

Cllr Bell has written to the Chief Executive and Chair of the North West London Hospital Trust. The text of the letter is below:

Dear David,

Misleading Literature

I was extremely concerned to receive the flyer that I have attached with this letter. It indicates that the Central Middlesex A&E is scheduled to close and I understand that it will be distributed to homes in Acton. The leaflet outlines what options people will have for A&Es after the closure. There is a section detailing the options for local A&Es.

The leaflets states that “The nearest Accident and Emergency departments are at Northwick Park Hospital, St Mary’s Hospital and Charing Cross Hospital.” This section of the leaflet makes no mention of Ealing Hospital. Ealing Hospital is mentioned later but in the same section as West Middlesex and Hillingdon hospitals, which are unlikely to be used by Acton residents in an emergency. This statement is factually incorrect.

The nearest A&E to my home in Acton will be Charing Cross Hospital which is 3.8 miles away. After that the next nearest Hospital with A&E is Ealing Hospital which is 4 miles away. St Mary’s hospital is 4.9 miles away and Northwick Park is 5.9 miles away. There will be many areas of Acton in which Ealing Hospital will be closer than Charing Cross Hospital. I believe there will be extremely few if any properties in Acton where Northwick Park is closer than Ealing Hospital. The leaflet should state that Ealing Hospital is one of, if not the nearest A&E.

I am extremely disappointed that the NHS are unable to correctly communicate about changes to their own hospitals. If residents read this leaflet and act upon it, it could result them making a longer journey than is necessary. This could make all the difference in an emergency.

I am extremely worried by Ealing’s omission of the list of local A&Es. I would like reassurance that this omission is not a deliberate attempt by the NHS to run down services at Ealing Hospital. We know that changes are coming to the A&E at Ealing and I am concerned that this is a deliberate attempt to run down patient numbers to justify the closure of the A&E at a later date. If the services at Ealing are not advertised to potential new patients displaced by other closures it will lead to a vicious circle at Ealing hospital of reducing patient numbers.

I would like reassurance from you that this is not the local NHS intention and a commitment that this literature will be corrected so local people get an accurate picture of local A&E services.

Yours sincerely

Councillor Julian Bell

Leader of Ealing Council

 

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