Andy Slaughter tried to rally against hospital demolition
LABOUR MP Andy Slaughter was locked out of an NHS trust meeting yesterday as he and disability activists tried to lobby against the demolition of a hospital.
The shadow justice minister was barred from attending a public meeting held by management from Charing Cross Hospital in London.
He had to wait outside for 20 minutes after he rallied trade unionists and health campaigners on the dangers of the largest NHS closures programme to date.
Mr Slaughter said that the board of Imperial Trust “don’t know what they’re doing” and that the new plans were all “half-baked decisions.”
Despite local opposition, hospital bosses went ahead with the decision to close down the Charing Cross site.
Less than six weeks from the expected shut down of the nearby Hammersmith and Central Middlesex accident and emergency units, public information has yet to be disseminated.
“We were here to protest on behalf of 99 per cent of my constituents who don’t want both A&Es to close and a major hospital to be demolished,” said Hammersmith MP Mr Slaughter.
Yesterday’s meeting approved a series of controversial measures such as reducing Charing Cross’s in-patient beds from 360 to 24 and closing A&E facilities.
Among the emergency services earmarked for closure were the vital stroke and neurosurgery departments.
Plans for the site published last week revealed that current floor space would be reduced by more than 75 per cent.
“If you do go to the services that are left, they will be privatised, second class services that only have nurses or GP cover,” warned Mr Slaughter.
Currently 22,000 patients visit Charing Cross Hospital every year.
If it closes, patients will have to travel a further 20 minutes to St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington.
Yet according to released documents, almost half of St Mary’s is also set to be sold.
“At best, it means much longer waits,” said the MP, “But what I’m worried about is that it will cost lives.
“David Cameron and Boris Johnson are completely out of touch on this one.”
No public consultation will be taking place on the selling off and closure of Charing Cross and St Mary’s hospitals.