Trusts identified significant safety risks at the Hammersmith and Central Middlesex Hospital A&Es with a high number of locums and in the case of Hammersmith, a lack of A&E consultants. These safety concerns prompted the Independent Reconfiguration Panel to conclude that ‘the changes… should be implemented as soon as practicable’. The closure of these two A&Es on 10 September 2014 was the first step in improving urgent and emergency care provision in North West London.
These changes did not assume that any out of hospital capabilities would be in place first. Therefore the capacity was transferred – and increased – to surrounding sites. No capacity was lost as a result of this change.
Following the changes, which were delivered safely, North West London has identified the following early benefits:
- Patients are now attending hospitals that provide better care
- A&E closures have not interrupted North West London’s steady reduction in A&E incidents
- Number of A&E clinical staff has now increased and staff completed a comprehensive local induction.
- Workload is no longer spread as thinly so patient flows are managed more effectively.
- Urgent Care Centres across North West London have been enhanced and clinical training for doctors and other clinicians has been improved.
- Minimal impact on London Ambulance Service (LAS) travel times as a result of the A&E closures – increase to average journey times between 22 seconds and 1 minute 25 seconds.