Four Labour councils – Ealing, Brent, Hounslow and Hammermsith and Fulham – have decided to an “independent commission” into the future of Accident and Emergency provision in West London. The NHS have already made clear that Charing Cross Hospital will continue to have a full A&E department – despite dishonest Labour claims to the contrary.
But the number of A&Es have fallen. The Central Middlesex Hospital in Harlesden has closed its A&E. So has Hammersmith Hospital in Wormwood Scrubs.
The money for the NHS has increased so why have fewer A&E departments? Sir Bruce Keogh, who is undertaking a review of how they operate, says:
“In the 1970s most A&Es and their hospitals could offer people the best treatment of the day for most conditions. Clinical practice has taken great strides forward in the last four decades, and this is no longer the case.
“Take heart attacks for example. In the 1970s, heart attacks were treated with bed rest. The hospital mortality rate was about 25 per cent. Today, as a result of advances in medical science, we now mechanically unblock the culprit coronary artery which was causing the heart attack.
“This treatment has seen mortality rates fall to just 5 per cent. But this improvement has required very expensive diagnostic equipment and cardiologists with special skills. This highly effective, advanced treatment of serious heart attacks cannot be provided by every hospital; it is currently delivered by half the hospitals in England, with about a third providing a comprehensive 24/7 service.
“We have very good results by international standards because the diagnosis can be made in the ambulance and the right patients are taken to the right hospitals for the most advanced treatment. This means that for paramedics to get patients to the best and most appropriate services, they will sometimes drive past the nearest A&E to get the patient to the right place. This is a good thing. The recent national reorganisation of major trauma services which resulted in the designation of 25 major trauma centres has produced, in its first year, a 20% increase in survival despite increased travel time for patients who now bypass A&Es that previously treated only a handful of these very serious and complicated cases.
“Similarly, the treatment of strokes which occur when the blood supply to part of the brain is blocked, has evolved. Effective treatment requires rapid transfer to a highly specialised unit with expensive diagnostic scanners and clinical expertise so that drugs can be given to minimise the brain damage that occurs. Stroke services in London have been reorganised to offer this high level treatment, but this required redirecting patients with suspected strokes from 32 admitting hospitals to only 8.
“The end result is that London has the best stroke services of any capital city in the world, saving more lives and returning more patients to independent living.”
Now we are all entitled to disagree with the NHS about this approach. Certainly it should be questioned and scrutinised.
But how impartial and open minded is the person chosen by the Labour councils to review the matter? He is not a clinician but a lawyer – Michael Mansfield QC. He is certainly well known having taken on many celebrity cases over the years.
But could Mr Mansfield be regarded as politically impartial?
In the past Mr Mansfield donated a thousand pounds to the Socialist Labour Party – the extreme left wing group set up by his friend Arthur Scargill. In 2012 London Assembly elections Mr Mansfield backed the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition. A supposed champion of “human rights” Mr Mansfield a great favourite of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign.
He is President of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers – an outfit once on an official Labour Party “proscribed list” because of its Communist links including involvement in the “International Association of Democratic Lawyers” a Soviet front organisation.
Mr Mansfield is very much a Champagne Socialist having earned vast sums from the taxpayer in legal aid. He was paid £743,421 during the Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday, which cost taxpayers £195million.
Is this really the most credible choice of Chairman for this NHS inquiry? Is it really plausible – however strong the evidence presented – that the NHS are right about their changes?
These four councils should be ashamed at spending Council Taxpayers money on this gimmick and their choice of a left wing extremist to lead it is revealing.