Almost all of Charing Cross Hospital is to be sold off, with its services diverted to other London hospitals that are already stretched to breaking point.
This is happening in the shadow of the Grenfell Tower fire that put the health service in London under huge pressure.
If you care about your health service, these lines from The Guardian will leave you seething:
Many of the officially published plans lacked precise detail about how local services would change, but internal supporting documents seen by the Guardian reveal the scale of the closures at the London site.
The proposals claim much of the care currently offered at Charing Cross can be transferred to “community settings” such as local GP services, but health campaigners and clinicians say the transformation could endanger patients.
The documents include a map detailing how 13% of the current hospital site will remain, with the rest of its prime real estate in central London sold off. The plan is to introduce the changes after 2021.
NHS chiefs have stated as recently as March that “there have never been any plans to close Charing Cross hospital”, and in March 2015 the then prime minister, David Cameron, said it was “scaremongering” to suggest that the Charing Cross A&E departmentwas earmarked for closure. The health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, echoed the claims.
However, in the internal NHS documents the apparent downgrading of Charing Cross is outlined in great detail.
Of course, it isn’t only Charing Cross that is facing the axe, according to Evolve Politics:
Charing Cross is thought to be one of five London hospitals that the recent ‘Naylor report’ has claimed could be worth £1bn if sold. This report outlines the upcoming cuts which will see billions of pounds of land, property, and services sold to private firms with links to the government, leaving patients without emergency care.
The Naylor Report was supported by prime minister Theresa May in the run-up to the general election. She was widely criticised during that campaign for having cut the number of police on our streets, leaving us open to terrorist attack, and then accusing those who pointed out our vulnerability of “scaremongering”.
Perhaps we should conclude that whenever a Tory says a claim is “scaremongering”, it must be true?
The Evolve article continues:
These devastating cuts are part of code-named ‘Project Phoenix’- a plan to create regional public/private partnerships to direct the dismemberment and sale of the NHS to private and public government allies. The proceeds from asset sales will be shared between NHS organisations and private firms. Under the plan, London and the south-east would comprise one giant, and very valuable, area.
Jeremy Hunt is putting a price on the head of the NHS, one of the busiest emergency departments in London, and spitting in the face of the dedicated and overworked staff on the frontlines of saving our nation.
What else could we expect, though, from a government that made a health minister of a woman who campaigned for election on a promise to close her own local hospital?
During her election campaign in Thurrock, Essex, Jackie Doyle-Price defended a plan to close the local Orsett Hospital and sell off the land for housing.
According to the Daily Mirror:
Challenged by local residents at hustings she said: “NHS trusts should be free to sell that land if they want.
“That’s exactly what’s going to happen with regard to Orsett Hospital.”
The hospital is earmarked to be sold for housing as part of a major shake-up of health services in the area.
Like their fellows in Weston-Super-Mare, the people of Thurrock can only be said to have themselves to blame for the planned loss of their hospital. They voted for it.
The same cannot be said of people living near Charing Cross Hospital, though. They have a Labour MP.
And, when the Tories decide it is time to sell off your local hospital and privatise its services, what will you say?
Will you be able to announce: “I didn’t vote for this”?
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