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Changes to emergency services at Central Middlesex Hospital

11-Nov-2011

The accident and emergency department (A&E) at Central Middlesex Hospital is moving to an 11-hour service between 8am and 7pm from 14 November. However, the Urgent Care Centre at the front of the hospital will continue to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

This is a temporary measure that is subject to external review and has been prompted by a need to provide a safe and reliable service to patients.

The temporary closure also reflects the work of the GP-led Urgent Care Centre in assisting patients who do not need hospital services. The centre opened at the hospital in March 2011, when A&E was seeing 200 patients a day on average. Now it sees about 70 patients a day and normally only one or two people an hour go to A&E between 7pm and 8am.

“As a result, A&E staff are no longer seeing enough patients to maintain their clinical skills and expertise,” said Professor Rory Shaw, Medical Director for The North West London Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Central Middlesex.

 “When doctors leave, it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit permanent replacements. The onset of winter means this situation is likely to become even more challenging, as we predict a shortage of A&E doctors available during the night. 

“While this change will affect very few patients, I realise that local people may be concerned. However, as the Urgent Care Centre cares for seven out of ten people who come through the front door, most people will not notice any difference.

“Safety is our number one priority, which is why we have taken this decision, which we believe is in the best interests of patients. It is wiser to make planned closures at night, rather than risk having sporadic, unanticipated closures over the winter, which could cause major inconvenience to patients.”

The North West London Hospitals Trust has discussed the situation with the NHS North West London Cluster of PCTs and invited it to carry out a review of its A&E services.

Ends