Patients may lose face-to-face contact with their local GP under controversial plans to shake up health services in Hammersmith and Fulham, hospital campaigners have claimed.
Protestors said proposals to group surgeries into centralised ‘hubs’ with more appointments taking place electronically risked “undermining traditional relationships with GPs”.
In a scathing attack, health bosses were also accused of planning “threadbare” provision for people with mental health problems and providing a “chilling” lack of detail on future care for the elderly.
Save Our Hospitals campaigners made the stinging comments after the north west London sustainability and transformation plan was finally submitted to NHS England.
It is one of 44 documents being drawn up by doctors across the country in a bid to restructure cash-strapped health services.
Senior clinicians say the STP will make sure appropriate care is provided for everyone in the borough.
But critics claim the plan is a smokescreen for NHS cuts – and the potential closure of Charing Cross Hospital.
The latest version of the document, which was drawn up by local clinical commissioning groups, has not yet been made publically available.
Save Our Hospitals says the “secret” plans were drawn up without proper public consultation – a claim strongly denied by clinicians.
Merril Hammer, chairwoman of the Save Our Hospitals campaign, said: “This plan has damaging implications for north west London. Save Our Hospitals believes the STP simply cannot work.
“It is all about the money, despite no details of finance. It was drawn up in a rush behind the backs of the public and of most health professionals, and is due to be imposed at break-neck speed.”
Earlier this year, a national newspaper investigation revealed that proposals to reduce the number of hospitals in the north west London area from nine to five were advocated in a draft version of the document.
However, health chiefs have repeatedly denied that there are any plans to close Charing Cross Hospital.
Despite the assurances, both Hammersmith and Fulham and Ealing councils have refused to support the STP.
A spokesman for the north west London STP said: “This version of the STP is an earlier draft, which builds on the one we published in June.
“We submitted our latest version to NHS England near the end of last month. We will make this available as soon as possible once they have had the chance to consider it.”