GPs fight back to save Hammersmith and Fulham’s hospitals


Central Hammersmith GP Network are a network of five doctor’s surgeries in the area fighting planned closures of A&E units.


By Jordan O’Brien

A rebel group, consisting of doctors who represent a quarter of patients in Hammersmith & Fulham, are fighting against NHS plans to downgrade two local hospitals.

Central Hammersmith GP Network are a network of five doctor’s surgeries in the area who are fighting planned closures of A&E units.

The NHS currently plans to close the emergency departments at both Charing Cross Hospital and Hammersmith Hospital.

The fight back from doctors is in stark contrast to what the NHS has said.

Last week they claimed: “Clinicians all over north-west London have said they believe it is the right way to develop better care, and they strongly believe it is in the best interests of their patients.”

Central Hammersmith GP Network serves more than 45,000 patients and wrote to NHS North West London’s director of Shaping a Healthier Future, Daniel Elkeles, to express their fears.

They said: “The downgrading of these services locally cannot be replaced by an “elastoplast” alternative model of care.”

They added that they were worried that the NHS are pushing through the plans without carrying out further engagement with local GPs, medical practices and patients who will be affected if the plans go forward.

The network received support from Cllr Marcus Ginn, Hammersmith & Fulham’s cabinet member for community and care, who said: “Only last week the NHS tried to claim that clinicians back their plans to downgrade local hospitals but we now know this is simply not true.

“We stand shoulder to shoulder with the GPs who realise that the community care that will be needed to look after residents’ health is not yet ready to deal with thousands of extra, displaced patients.”

The lack of clarity as to what the reasoning behind the plans are has caused concern amongst the network, especially after meetings held in the borough.

Dr David Wingfield expressed his concern saying: “What are the safeguards when 1,000 beds are lost out of 4,500?”

With a severe lack of beds already reported up and down the UK, Dr Wingfield has watched the situation gradually get worse through his 23 years experience as a practising GP.

He spoke at the Save Our Hospitals public meeting in September at Hammersmith Town Hall.

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