NHS reforms could put strain on St Mary’s hospital, campaigners warn

Healthcare at St Mary’s Hospital will come under severe strain if plans to restructure the NHS go ahead, campaigners have warned.

A consultation is underway on proposals to remove “major hospital status” from certain north west London hospitals.

This means A&E, maternity and paediatric services at either Charing Cross or Chelsea and Westminster will be axed.

St Mary’s Hospital on Praed Street, Paddington will retain its services, which will be expected to pick up the slack from those closing.

Chair of the Save Our Hospitals campaign Carlo Nero said: “We are talking hundreds of thousands of patient visits per year having to be absorbed by St Mary’s.

“Nothing has been put in place to convince people this can be done.”

Under the plans, urgent medical care centres will be opened at hospitals which lose A&E departments, in order to deal with cases which do not demand emergency treatment.

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UNISON representative for St Mary’s, Eddie Jaggers said the proposals were a concern for staff.

He said: “The staff there are very professional and work incredibly hard, but if you try to get a gallon into a pint glass it won’t go.”

A spokeswoman for NHS NW London said: “Shaping a healthier future in North West London aims to improve the health and healthcare of people across the whole area.

“Our proposed investment in local, community based services would mean people having easier access to more, and better quality, primary care which will help prevent illnesses, better manage long term conditions, prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital and save hundreds of lives.

“No changes to A&E services would be made for three years. During that time, out of hospital services would be improved, urgent care services at all hospitals would be upgraded and we would agree the right level of additional extra investment needed at the London Ambulance Service. The majority of people needing urgent attention will continue to be treated in their nearest hospital at an urgent care centre.

“The result would be fewer people requiring the specialist care that is only available in an A&E. But for those people who need this treatment, the changes would mean that the services would be safer.

“For more information about the proposed changes, or to respond to the consultation, visit http://www.healthiernorthwestlondon.nhs.uk/have-your-say or you can call us on 0800 881 5209.”