Protest March Planned as NHS Consultation Closes

Local residents urged to join march past Charing Cross Hospital

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Campaigners are urging local residents to join a protest march taking place this Saturday, October 6, as the NHS consultation on its plans for local hospitals comes to an end.

NHS North West London is reminding people that this is the last week to respond to its consultation on plans for the future of local hospitals, which includes options to close A & E departments at Hammersmith, Charing Cross or Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

The Shaping a Healthier Future consultation closes on Monday, October 8. The consultation however has been strongly criticised by a number of parties, including Hammersmith and Fulham Labour council Stephen Cowan, who called it a "one-side sales pitch" and H & F Council, who argue that the questions it contains could lead respondents into answers they may not want to give.

NHS North West London has put forward three options for how hospital services could change, but all of these options involve closing one of the three local A &E departments.

H&F Council has said the consultation is so flawed - echoing the words of ex-NHS chief Timothy Rideout - that it is preparing a "non-standard " response.

In the meantime, the council has produced a summary of suggested responses to the 34 questions contained in the consultation's questionnaire.

Among those suggested answers are: "We don't want to approve any of your schemes that mean taking services away from people".

The consultation has also been condemned by Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter as an attempt to "divide and rule", by pitting hospitals against each other, with the result that Chelsea and Westminster Hospital has been asking residents to vote for Option A in the consultation, which means closing the A &E at Charing Cross.

Describing this news as "unbelievable" he says he has written to the Chair of Chelsea and Westminster asking for this to be stopped immediately.

The march on Saturday has been organised by the Hammersmith and Fulham wing of the Save our Hospitals Campaign, and is supported by our Sister Campaigns in Ealing and Brent, as well as the Kensington and Chelsea Residents Group. 

The march will assemble in Rockley Road, just south of Shepherd's Bush Green, from 11am on Saturday October 6, and start moving at noon.

The march will move down SHEPHERD'S BUSH ROAD, across HAMMERSMITH BROADWAY, pausing on Butterwick, continue down FULHAM PALACE ROAD, go past CHARING CROSS HOSPITAL,to LILLIE ROAD RECREATIONAL GROUND, where there will be a rally RALLY from about 1pm until about 2pm.

Local people are being asked to join some or all of the march, to show the huge strength of feeling that has built up across West London. Volunteers and helpers are also required for the march - if you think you can be of help, email the campaign at: campaign@saveourhospitals.net

The march follows two local meetings where hundreds of local people quizzed representatives of NHS North West London about the plans. You see see a video of one of these public meetings at Hammersmith Town Hall here.

Save Our Hospitals is run by a group of local people along with MP Andy Slaughter. You can find out more about its activities including this week's march at is website  and follow it on twitter, hashtag #SaveHFNHS.

H&F Council has also been running a campaign against the proposals – joined by a broad coalition of politicians, businesses and residents from a range of backgrounds – and has warned that local people will be left dangerously far away from emergency care out of borough, if the NHS plans go ahead.

You can add your signature to the council's petitions at Save Charing Cross and Save Hammersmith.

You can respond to the consultation online or request a full copy of the consultation document by emailing consultation@nw.london.nhs.uk, calling freephone number 0800 881 5209 or writing to FREEPOST SHAPING A HEALTHIER FUTURE CONSULTATION (This must be written in capital letters and on one line. You will not need a stamp.)

August 30, 2012