Closing A&E departments has led to a deterioration in the performance of those that remain in North West London. A new analysis warns of the risk to patients if further A&Es are closed.
Press release, 19th April 2017.
EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01 Monday 24th April 2017.
Across England NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) are proposing the closure or ‘downgrade’ of up to 24 emergency departments.
A new report for the Centre for Health and the Public Interest shows how A&E performance has suffered across North West London following the closure of two emergency departments in 2014.
Performance against the 95% 4-hour wait target dropped to as low as 60%, meaning that up to 40% of patients requiring serious treatment had to wait over 4 hours to be assessed and admitted to an appropriate bed. Since then the performance of North West London hospitals has been some of the worst in the country, sometimes managing to treat fewer than half of the patients within four hours. For time-sensitive conditions such as sepsis or respiratory failure such delays are life-threatening.
In addition, since the A&E closures in 2014 the bed occupancy rate in all hospital trusts in North West London has been above 85%, compromising clinical safety through overcrowding.
The paper also points out that the closures aggravate health inequalities, hitting the most deprived boroughs in the region.
Report author Dr Gurjinder Singh Sandhu  said:
“Despite a dangerous deterioration in A&E performance since the closure of two local A&E Departments, the North West London STP still envisages closing a further two A&E units at some point in the future. Future planning needs to learn lessons from the reconfigurations that have already taken place and not continue with A&E closures based on assumptions which have not been borne out in reality.”
Dr Gurjinder Singh Sandhu on 07788 25 88 26 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes for editors
- The Centre for Health and the Public Interest is an independent think tank promoting evidence-based policy in line with the founding principles of the NHS. We publish reports and analyses on key issues affecting the NHS, social care and public health. These reports are produced by respected academics and health and social care practitioners. The Centre seeks to frame the policy debate in a way that is evidence-based and open and accessible to citizens.
- Dr Gurjinder Singh Sandhu is a Consultant Physician specializing in Infectious Diseases and Acute Medicine. He has a specialist interest in Tuberculosis, Poverty and Health Inequalities. He was awarded a Wellcome Trust Tropical Fellowship and completed his PhD in 2010, studying Tuberculosis in resource poor countries. Dr Sandhu currently works in Acute Medicine and is developing an interest in health inequalities in elderly care medicine. Dr Sandhu is an active member of Ealing Save Our NHS.