Rarely do public meetings in Ealing Town Hall’s Victoria Hall fill the venue. Last night was very different. A full meeting with many residents from all over the borough having their say.
From the Liberal Democrats we had myself and Councillor Andrew Steed present, as well as Councillors Jon Ball and Nigel Bakhai, our spokesperson for Heath matters, who had come back from the Liberal Democrat conference that finished earlier that day. The photo taken by Councillor Jon Ball shows the packed audience...
|Packed audience in Ealing town hall|
The general points that were raised by residents or said by the panel were:
- Lots of people have given reasons why the hospital consultation North West London are conducting is biased and flawed. Many people still do not know about the proposals, only 50 copies of the consultation were available in Southall library (which serves about 65,000 residents!)
- The proposals pit one community against another. Dr Spencer says it's okay if you vote to keep Charing Cross' A&E and shut Ealing's A&E or visa versa.
- It appeared that if any of the hospitals were downgraded they would have a smaller building on site and sell the land.
- Dr Spencer said that Maternity services at Ealing Hospital had worsened but when an audience member read out a list of monthly facts, from a public document, it was very clear Dr Spencer's comments were incorrect and not true (things had improved). He had the chance to apologise and retract his statements but he didn't do either. The figures show that Ealing's maternity unit is best in north west London!
- It is very strange that the plans in total (all hospitals combined) seem to have fewer people having operations, being admitted into the various wards etc. – despite the fact that populations are increasing in West London and the birth rate is increasing.
- Local doctor in debate in Ealing said it takes far longer to travel to hospital than the NHS proposals tell us. Even if you travel where the proposals state they assume people live next to a tube or rail station.
- A senior cardiologist at Ealing Hospital spoke against the NHS proposals – he said a lot of his colleagues agreed with him.
I am a diabetic and I find the NHS plans as being bonkers. It was great to see a full hall so people could ask a lot of question to those who think that downgrading our hospitals is a good idea. The consultation was biased and did not engage with Ealing’s communities fully. Many people still do not know about the plans.
This is round one to those who are against the plans. The fight will go on.