Saturday, September 23, 2017
Healthcare ‘revolution’ required to keep local patients safe

Healthcare ‘revolution’ required to keep local patients safe

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Dr David Wingfield says a 'revolution' in healthcare is needed in Hammersmith and Fulham

A senior GP has called for a “revolution” in health and social care in Hammersmith and Fulham amid warnings that local NHS services are being pushed to breaking point.

Dr David Wingfield said “radical and urgent change” was needed to safeguard residents’ health and wellbeing.

He warned that NHS services could not continue in their current form and suggested a wholesale reorganisation.

The intervention comes amid controversial plans to shake up the health system across north west London over the next five years.

Dr Wingfield, who is chairman of the Hammersmith and Fulham GP Federation, offered to form a “grand alliance” between doctors, healthcare trusts, local politicians and members of the community to confront healthcare challenges.

He said: “Only by working together can we truly tackle the problems that patients experience every day.”

The borough’s top GP, a partner at the Brook Green Medical Centre since 1989, said information should be shared more effectively between healthcare agencies, such as surgeries and hospitals.

He envisaged a network of health provision where services are not “wrapped around the system”.

“We simply cannot afford to go on as we have been,” he added.

“Radical and urgent change is required to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all local residents, and with appropriate resourcing all the GP practices in the borough are ready for the challenge.

“Primary care is the front door of the health service and every day we see first hand the challenges that local residents face in their personal lives.

“We need a revolution in the way health and social care services are organised and delivered to meet the growing needs of the local population.”

NHS chiefs have set out proposals to restructure services over the next five years in the ‘sustainability and transformation plan’ for north west London.

The controversial document has been criticised by campaigners in Hammersmith and Fulham, who claim it is a smokescreen for cuts.

Speaking at a public meeting at Hammersmith Town Hall last month, Dr Wingfield warned that some GP practices in the borough were “going to the wall” and echoed fears that Charing Cross Hospital could be closed.

He also said patients were “falling between the gaps” created by administrative lags – leading to “frustration, delay and sometimes dangerous events”.

The North West London Clinical Commissioning Group published the STP document last week. It rules out the closure of Charing Cross until at least April 2021.

Following the town hall meeting, a spokesman for the Imperial College NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said: “We want to reassure our staff, patients, local residents and partners that Charing Cross is not closing and that there will be no reduction in the hospital’s A&E and wider services during the lifetime of the STP.”

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Healthcare ‘revolution’ required to keep local patients safe