Radical changes to healthcare services in London given go-ahead
Radical changes to hospitals in North-West London which will provide "safe and sustainable care" for patients are to proceed, says Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Following the advice of the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP), the Health Secretary has announced that nine hospitals across North-West London will be redesigned, in order to provide advanced levels of comprehensive acute care "to the highest possible standard".
The Shaping a Healthier Future programme, led by local clinicians, proposes that these changes will safeguard high quality care and services for the local population by putting the patient at the centre of the NHS.
Work on the A&E departments of Hammersmith and Central Middlesex hospitals is scheduled for after the coming winter, while new facilities costing £80 million each will be custom built in Ealing and Charing Cross to provide specific community services.
They must also provide immediate access to specialist consultant opinion, as per Bruce Keogh's review of A&E services.
The Department of Health said: "this process has dragged on for many years, and local communities now deserve certainty".
The proposed changes have the unanimous backing of the local medical directors, who have written to the Health Secretary establishing "a very high level of clinical support for this programme across NW London".
The directors say that the proposals "will save many lives each year and significantly improve patients' care and experiences of the NHS".
Also proposed is an increase in the investment in mental health, so that psychiatric liason services can provide a more co-ordinated level of care for vulnerable mentally ill people.
The changes are intended to reassure local residents that urgent or emergency care will be available around the clock every day, and that more critical care consultants will be on duty to ensure seriously ill patients receive the best expert care.
Jeremy Hunt said: "Changes to services across North West London have been designed and driven by local doctors and healthcare professionals who know their patients best.
"When local doctors tell me that lives can be saved and patient care improved, I will not hesitate to act in the interests of patients.
"Today's changes will put patients at the centre of the NHS in North West London, giving them better access to care 24/7 at home, at GP surgeries, in hospitals and the community".
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