Since 2012, the NHS in North West London has been working on a programme to re-shape services under the banner of Shaping a Healthier Future (SaHF) and much has been achieved over the past seven years. This includes 24/7 urgent care centres in every borough of NW London; improvements to maternity care and emergency paediatric care; and a range of initiatives to help people get the specialist care they need closer to home without having to be admitted to hospital.
With the publication of the NHS Long Term Plan and today’s statement from the Secretary of State – both of which align with our thinking locally - now is a good time to move on and share how we plan to respond to the challenges and opportunities as we face them today in order to achieve the most with, and for, our patients and local communities.
All parts of the NHS are now in agreement to draw the SaHF programme to a conclusion and bring our on-going efforts to improve health and care together in a new programme as part of our NHS Long Term Plan response. This means we will not be taking forward the plans as set out in SaHF for changes to Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals, but this does not mean that services across NW London will not change.
Challenges still remain, including the state of our estate and getting access to sufficient capital to invest in redevelopment, the continuing growth in demand for acute care despite investment in primary and community services; tight budgets; and gaps in our ability to recruit and retain enough staff with the right skills.
This new plan for health and care in NW London will therefore still need to include changes, involving some difficult decisions and trade-offs but we believe if we all work together - staff, patients, partners and stakeholders - then we will have the best possible chance of success.