Charing Cross Hospital pledges expansion of the A&E Department – but patients want clarity for the future

An independent charity called Healthwatch Central West London has produced an interesting report on Charing Cross Hospital asking the NHS for greater clarity about the future. Research included interviews with 218 outpatients. There was a high level of satisfaction with the hospital and a range of opinions on various matters – for instance on whether any services should be switched from the hospital to  GP surgeries.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has stated that there will be no changes until at least 2021. But after that there is a possibility of it becoming a “local hospital”. If it did, do patients feel that their “health needs would be fully met”? Among the residents taking part in the survey, 17 said yes (30.36 per cent) eight said maybe (14.29 per cent) 27 said no (48.21 per cent) and another four (7.14 per cent) declined to answer. Understandably a lot of people wanted to know what a “local hospital” would mean.

Healthwatch Central West London asked what the definition was and the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust responded:

“The consultation document (August 2012) for the plans to improve local NHS services in North West London as part of the SaHF programme, identified eight different settings for care. Section 10 of the consultation described a ‘Local hospital’ as follows: “Local hospital – this type of hospital provides all the most common things people need hospitals for, such as less severe injuries and less severe urgent care, nonlife threatening illnesses, care for most long-term conditions such as diabetes and asthma, and diagnostic services. It basically provides the kinds of services that most people going to hospital in NW London currently go there for.”

The NHS Trust does also say, in a tortuous phrase:

“Our approach of actively not progressing plans to reduce acute capacity at Charing Cross Hospital unless and until we could achieve a reduction in acute demand.”

As Charing Cross Hospital has been coping with an “increasing demand for acute hospital services” it would seem unlikely that would change any time soon.

However the NHS does argue that cutting the number of beds could be a measure of success:

“Over 30 per cent of inpatient beds in acute hospitals are occupied by patients whose care would be better provided elsewhere in their own home or community. Clinical audits regularly show that over 30 per cent of patients in an acute hospital bed do not need acute care. It is best for patients if they are able to return home at the optimal time for them, to be subsequently cared for in the most appropriate setting, preferably their own homes…..

“Charing Cross Hospital currently has just over 400 inpatient and day-case beds. Successful programmes have shown that high-quality interventions that support patients before they become acutely unwell can reduce non-elective admissions and slow progression of a disease. This can contribute to a reduction in overall care costs through the removal of acute beds when out-of-hospital solutions are in place. It does not necessarily mean planning to treat fewer people – it means treating people in a different way or different place.”

In another report the NHS Trust says:

“We have recently seen some of our largest ever investments in new facilities and equipment at Charing Cross Hospital, much of which has been made possible by the support of Imperial Health Charity.

“Over the past 18 months, some £6 million has been spent on major new developments including: Riverside theatres; main outpatient clinics; a new acute medical assessment unit; our first patient service centre; and the main new facility for North West London Pathology. In addition, we are spending almost another £8 million on replacing imaging equipment and installing two state-of-the-art LINAC radiotherapy machines so we can provide the most advanced cancer treatments.

“And our maintenance spend at Charing Cross this year is another nearly £6 million, around a third of our total Trust spend on backlog maintenance.

“As part of our investment in urgent and emergency care services and theatres at Charing Cross, we have co-located our acute medicine beds on the ground floor of the hospital, near to the A&E department, and closer to the imaging department. This has enabled medical patients to be admitted more quickly.

“In addition, we are currently working up a multi-million pound refurbishment and expansion of the A&E department at Charing Cross, to begin in the early part of 2018. The likely timescales however, mean that the improvements will impact after the current winter period.”

On its own website the NHS Trust says:

“Since 2016, we’ve committed over £20 million for building improvements and new imaging and radiotherapy equipment at Charing Cross.  

“We’ve also developed new services and employed extra doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff. More investment is already planned for 2018 and 2019, including a refurbishment and expansion of the A&E department.”

That report also says:

“We can currently predict that it will be some years into the future before acute demand has reduced sufficiently for us to look to reduce inpatient bed numbers or A&E capacity.”

2021 is not very far away. It would be good to have a clear guarantee that the A&E will continue and that the hospital will not be downgraded after that date. I am as confused by the convoluted jargon and changing messages from the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust as anyone else. But the fact that the A&E is currently being expanded is very welcome and clearly an encouraging sign for the future.


NHS rebut latest Labour scaremongering about Charing Cross Hospital

Hammersmith and Fulham Council persists in claiming that the NHS threatens to close Charing Cross Hospital including its A&E. The NHS persists in denying this (see the latest letter below from the last Imperial NHS Trust board papers.) Even if the NHS did have such a plan Labour’s “early pledge” in the last council elections to “block” such plans was dishonest as the Council has no such power.

If forced to choose whether to believe doctors or Labour councillors I would tend to go with the former. Having said that the NHS certainly haven’t done themselves any favours with their communications. Their messages have been pretty impenetrable and contradictory at times.

What I am absolutely clear about is that I do not support the closure of Charing Cross Hospital or its A&E – nor do any of my fellow Conservative councillors. Labour keep pushing this lie in the most offensive and emotive terms. Increasingly their message inspires intimidatory behaviour from the Corbynista fringe – which Labour councillors have not yet disowned despite instances being raised with them. It is the “politics of hate” and Labour should cease promoting it.

Instead they should focus on running the Council. On the many issues which they are responsible for. At present they seem to be trying to deflect attention from their failings.

18th July 2017 

Dear Councillor Cowan 

Thank you for your letter of 12 June 2017 responding to the complaint we raised with you in March. Your response, and subsequent mailings to local residents, continue to provide an extremely partial account of the facts about the future of Charing Cross Hospital. Our only motivation in challenging your approach is to end the unnecessary distress this is causing to our staff, patients and local communities, especially at a time when our health services are under particular pressure. 

Through our regular meetings with your councillors and officers and frequent attendance at the Council’s health overview and scrutiny committee, we believe we have set out the facts clearly: 

In 2012, we published plans for a reconfiguration of health services across North West London to respond to rapidly changing health and care needs.  We undertook a full public consultation which set out plans for a more integrated approach to care, with the consolidation of specialist services onto fewer sites, where this would improve quality and efficiency, and the expansion of care for routine and on-going conditions, especially in the community, to improve access.  Charing Cross was envisaged as a ‘local hospital’ within this network of services, building on its role as a growing hub for integrated care offered in partnership between hospital specialists, local GPs and community providers. 

After the consultation, the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) met to make their decisions. One of those decisions related to an alternative proposal that we had developed for the Charing Cross Hospital site in response to feedback from the public consultation. This proposal, which saw a wider range of services on the Charing Cross site, was recommended by the JCPCT in early 2013. 

The decisions of the JCPCT were then referred to the Secretary of State who asked the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) to look at the proposals. On the advice of the IRP, in October 2013, the Secretary of State supported the proposals in full, adding that Charing Cross Hospital should continue to offer an A&E service, even if it was a different shape or size to that currently offered.  He also made clear that there would need to be further engagement to develop detailed proposals for Charing Cross. 

Our subsequent work to engage patients and the public in the development of detailed plans for Charing Cross was paused as increasing demand for acute hospital services highlighted the need to focus first on the development of new models of care to help people stay healthy and avoid unnecessary and lengthy inpatient admissions. Our approach of actively not progressing plans to reduce acute capacity at Charing Cross unless and until we could achieve a reduction in acute demand was formalised in the North West London Sustainability and Transformation Plan published in 2016. The plan made a firm commitment that Charing Cross will continue to provide its current A&E and wider services for at least the lifetime of the plan, which runs until April 2021. We also made the commitment to work jointly with staff, communities and councils on the design and implementation of new models of care.

Our commitment to Charing Cross is demonstrated further in the £8m we invested last year – to refurbish urgent and emergency care wards, theatres, outpatient clinics and lifts and to create a patient service centre and the main new facility for North West London Pathology. And in the further, significant investments we are planning for this year. 

You have consistently failed to acknowledge any changes in our approach to Charing Cross since the original public consultation on proposed service changes for North West London. This is demonstrated most clearly by your latest mailing to local residents which included a copy of outline service proposals published five years ago.   
In response to your detailed questions about how and why we shared our complaint to you in March, we felt we had no choice but to make it public. This was entirely a decision of the Trust and CCG leadership. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to send materials directly to every house in the borough. We published our letter to you on our websites on 28th March 2017, the day after it had been sent to you and with full disclosure of our approach, to help allay unnecessary public concern. Unsurprisingly, there has been follow up media interest in our exchanges which our communications teams have responded to, as appropriate.

Concern about changes to local health services is entirely valid and understandable. Far from wishing to prevent debate, we encourage and welcome open discussion, especially with patients and the public.

We have to create a shared understanding of the huge challenges we are facing in the NHS – and social care –  if we are to address them effectively. We very much wish to work with all of our local authorities as key partners in this endeavour but it is only possible if the considered and honest opinions of our organisations, including  those of our senior clinicians, are not actively misrepresented.     
Yours sincerely, 
Dr Tracey Batten      

Chief Executive

CWHHE  Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trus

Clare Parker  

Chief Officer

SRO – Shaping a Healthier Future 

NHS Trust confirms plans for brand new Charing Cross Hospital

handsnhsLast week, Greg Hands, the Conservative MP for Chelsea and Fulham, welcomed senior management of the Imperial College NHS Trust to the House of Commons.

Greg called the meeting to get the latest on the plans for a new Charing Cross Hospital on the existing site on Fulham Palace Road.

Following the meeting, the Chief Executive of the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Dr Tracy Batten, has written to Greg to provide an update on the Trust’s plans for a new Charing Cross Hospital on the same site in Fulham Palace Road.

Highlights for the site’s plans include the following:

  • £150 million redevelopment
  • A wide range of specialist and planned care, including: day case surgery and treatment, one-stop diagnostic clinics, outpatients, chemotherapy, and renal dialysis
  • Integrated care and rehabilitation services, especially for elderly people and those with chronic conditions
  • An Emergency Centre
  • Existing partner services to be co-located, including mental health and cancer support

As well as a redevelopment of the Charing Cross site, the Trust’s strategy proposes a significant redevelopment of the St Mary’s site, and a smaller redevelopment of the Hammersmith site (where Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital would remain co-located).

The Trust has a made a bid for capital investment to fund the proposals, which is currently awaiting approval by the North West London Clinical Commissioning Groups of GPs (CCGs). Once approved the plans will go to NHS England and the NHS Trust Development Authority for consideration.

The Trust anticipate milestones to include approval of the outline plan in 2015/16, and approval for the final plans in 2016/17. This would then enable a three-year construction programme to begin, which is currently expected to last until the end of 2020/21.

Greg Hands, said:

“It was helpful to meet Dr Batten and her team, to hear first-hand about their plans for the redevelopment and rebuilding of Charing Cross Hospital. The public will welcome the Trust being able to lay out some more detail of their vision.

“Charing Cross is an excellent and valued hospital, with which I have deep personal ties. The rebuilding will leave it capable of providing even better services in the future, becoming a leading centre of excellence for elective surgery.

“In contrast to some misinformation from other sources, the Trust has confirmed to me personally that it is proposing a brand-new hospital with Accident & Emergency. And whilst it is true that the concrete tower block which is no longer fit for purpose will be demolished, this will be only after the new and improved hospital is up and running.

“The local Labour Party has been deliberately spreading misinformation and scaremongering about the fate of the hospital. Andrew Slaughter MP and Labour have repeatedly told residents, wrongly, that the hospital and its A&E department is to close.

“Only this week, Mr Slaughter has put leaflets through resident’s doors clamming that ‘Charing Cross Hospital remains under threat of demolition’, without any reference to the new hospital on the same site. He has been told directly by both the Health Secretary and the Prime Minister that he is not telling local people the whole truth, and now he has it from the doctors of the hospital, and no less than the Chief Executive.

“I hope now that Mr Slaughter will stop his misleading campaign, and start representing his constituents responsibly, instead of continuing to try and spread fear and score points out of an issue on which he is plainly wrong.”

Ravenscourt Park Ward e-bulletin

Dear Resident,

Charlie Dewhirst, Lucy Ivimy and I are delighted to have been re-elected as the Conservative councillors for Ravenscourt Park Ward after a keenly fought contest. Thank you to those who voted for us and we will do our best to represent all  residents for the next four years.
Some of our Conservative colleagues elsewhere in the borough were less fortunate and Labour gained control of the council. There are now 26 Labour councillors and 20 Conservatives.
At a Conservative Group meeting Cllr Greg Smith was elected Leader of the Opposition and Lucy the Deputy Leader. Charlie is the Conservative candidate for the Hammersmith constituency at the General Election next year. For years the Labour MP for Hammersmith, Andrew Slaughter, has blamed everything on the council. Now he will have to find something else to complain about.
I have written more about the election results here.

Labour’s campaign was dominated by two straight lies – firstly that the hospital will cease to exist, and secondly, that what happens to it is a decision for Hammersmith and Fulham Council. The constant repetition of those lies constituted Labour’s election campaign and was crucial to their victory.
In fact the NHS are responsible for Charing Cross Hospital. Their plans are for a phased £200 million rebuilding. A full Accident and Emergency service will be retained – with 24/7 emergency care and full range of diagnostics and recovery beds.
The hospital will also become a leading centre for elective surgery. 90% of  patients will still use Charing Cross Hospital in the same way. Some will be taken elsewhere – in order to receive better specialist treatment. Charing Cross will be a smaller hospital with fewer beds – but it will be a better hospital.
The NHS point out that the mortality rate is much higher for patients admitted at weekends than week days – as they are more likely to see junior doctors rather than consultants. They estimate the reorganisation of stroke care in London is saving 500 lives a year.
The proposals apply the same logic – a shift away from general hospitals towards specialist hospitals. Given the Labour scaremongering I do feel the NHS need to do more to justify their changes. I support the changes as I believe they will save lives – even if they may have lost me some votes.

The Conservatives achieved a lot in our eight years in charge of Hammersmith Town Hall. Your Council Tax is lower. The streets are cleaner, the parks greener. We helped the police reduce crime. School standards have improved – and the Hammersmith Academy and West London Free School opened. There are fewer empty homes and more new homes. These include far more “affordable homes” than Labour managed – including those for “shared ownership” to help people get on the housing ladder.
I wrote more about this on City AM.

But we did not get everything right. Planning policy for example. There is no reason why new buildings should not be beautiful and traditional. Yet most planners, architects and developers have a presumption in favour of ugly, modernism – with a particular enthusiasm for brutalist tower blocks. They must be resisted. Parking is a complicated subject but again we could have done better in that area.  Some feel that after eight years we become too close to the bureaucrats and didn’t listen to residents enough. Going forward we will be holding regular “Councillors Forums” – really old fashioned public meetings – across the Ward to hear your views.


  • Ravenscourt Park Ward has more Neighbourhood Watch schemes than any other ward in the borough. They help reduce crime – especially burglary. If you would like to start one in your street please email our Safer Neighbourhood Team on
  • The Hammersmith Society is a non-party political group which works for a better urban environment. It’s AGM will be at 7.30pm on 19 June in the Small Hall of Holy Innocents church in Paddenswick Rd, W6 OUB with guest speaker William Burdett-Coutts, Artistic Director of Riverside Studios. Membership only costs £6!
  • There is a proposal for Farmers Market in Ravenscourt Park on Saturday mornings. (In any event there will be a bit more room in the park as some of the arches are being cleared out.) Please let me know your views.
  • If you would like the Conservatives to regain Hammersmith and Fulham Council please consider joining the Hammersmith Conservatives or making a donation. You can do so via our website or by sending a cheque to Hammersmith Conservatives, 4 Greyhound Road, London, W6 8NX. ( 020 7385 1002.) Or if you don’t want to join but are willing to campaign or come to our events let us know. The International Development Minister Alan Duncan is coming to a party in Hammersmith Grove on July 2nd. Details here.

Best wishes,

Councillor for Ravenscourt Park Ward

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