London hospitals are failing patients who need emergency care, according to a just-published NHS audit (researched undertaken in 2011). According to the audit none of London’s 28 Hospital Trusts are meeting minimum standards.
The report is published as an inquest takes place into the death of seven week old Axel Peanberg King who died of pneumonia despite calls and visits to a privatised out-of-hours GP service based at the Whittington Hospital in north London.
The current wave of government-driven initiatives and “shake ups” in London’s NHS are certain to make a bad situation worse.
The government wants a 24-7 NHS, one where, for example, seriously patients who are admitted at the weekend are able, if necessary, to access senior clinical staff. The government is not prepared to pay for it, despite the fact that it would according to Dr Andy Mitchell, medical director of NHS London, “save hundreds of lives”.
Meanwhile Accident and Emergency units at hospitals in both south and north London (Lewisham, Charing Cross, Central Middlesex, Hammersmith and Ealing) are being downgraded. Remaining A&Es in those areas are likely to be overcrowded and over-run.
Hospitals losing their A&E units will become GP-led “urgent care” centres and these, under the new Tory NHS regime, will be up for privatisation. The case of baby Axel showed clearly the results of privatisation: over-run due to a lack of adequate staff and poor procedures.
The government lies when its says they are trying to achieve the best care for local people in London and elsewhere where emergency services are being “rationalised”. Many more babies, and others, particularly the old and disabled people who can no longer access emergency services at a local hospital, will die because of the cuts and reforms.
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