Labour will recruit 1,200 more GPs in London, guarantee appointments within 48 hours and immediately halt further planned closures to A&E departments in North West London.
Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham has announced that a Labour Government will immediately halt further changes to the NHS in north west London until a full consultation, based on clinical need rather than budget pressures has taken place.
Under ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ the current Government has ordered the future closure of Ealing and Charing Cross A&Es, which would mean local people only having access to minor injuries units led by GPs not consultants, with no blue light ambulance service, no intensive care units and no anaesthetists present.
This is the next step in the further dismantlement of the NHS by the Lib Dem-Tory coalition which has already presided over the closure of Central Middlesex and Hammersmith A&E departments.
An incoming Labour government would halt the changes and conduct a full clinical review which would also look again at the proposals to close Ealing Hospital’s Maternity Unit. In addition, Labour has unveiled a plan to improve GP access by recruiting 1,200 more GPs in London, allowing surgeries to offer more convenient opening times.
Before the last General Election, the Conservatives promised they would guarantee access to GPs seven days a week. But in Government, David Cameron failed to deliver on this. Not only that, but it has actually become harder to see a GP. He scrapped Labour’s extended GP opening hours scheme and 60 per cent of patients now wait longer than 48 hours to see a GP. Five years later, the Conservatives are making the same pledge.
Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Health, said: “One of the biggest failures of this Government has been the chaotic and damaging NHS closures in north west London. Remaining A&Es have been put under intolerable pressure, and with the planned review and downgrading of Ealing and Charing Cross things could get even worse, putting patient safety at risk.”
He continued: “GP services have also gone into freefall under this Government. David Cameron promised to put GPs at the heart of the NHS but instead caused a new GP recruitment crisis. It is getting harder and harder to get a GP appointment and this cannot carry on.”
Dawn Butler, Labour Candidate for Brent Central, said: “Here in Brent Central we have felt the full force of the disastrous Lib Dem-Tory coalition’s handling of the NHS. Central Middlesex A&E has been closed down and as a result, from October 2014 through to February 2015, the North West London Healthcare Trust was in the bottom five nationally for A&E waiting times, often the worst performing of all.”
“If the current government’s proposals to close Ealing and Charing Cross A&Es are not halted we would have an area of London -; the equivalent of a city the size of Leeds – without an A&E. The poorest part of the constituency has to travel the furthest for healthcare and this is just not fair.”
“The Labour party is committed to saving the NHS, and unlike the Tories, we’ve offered concrete proposals for where the money is coming from. The mansion tax, which would only affect 65 properties in the entire borough of Brent, will allow us to give the NHS an additional £2.5bn funding to pay for the doctors and nurses that we so desperately need. It really is the only hope of saving our A&Es, and with it our NHS, so please vote Labour on Thursday.”