STRUCTURE: The maternity unit at Ealing Hospital Trust will close “as soon as possible” following agreement by local commissioners.
A date for the closure has not been agreed but it could be as early as March 2015.
Commissioners decided that the closure should take place because of low levels of consultant cover and a decline in paediatric inpatient activity.
The proposal to close the unit was put forward as part of the Shaping a Healthier Future reconfiguration programme in North West London.
Maternity care will now be offered on six sites in the surrounding area - West Middlesex, Hillingdon, Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea, St Mary’s, Chelsea and Westminster and Northwick Park Hospitals.
The majority of these sites are developing additional capacity to handle an increased number of births following the Ealing unit closure.
Postnatal and antenatal services will continue to be delivered in Ealing.
Mohini Parmar, Ealing CCG chair, said: “Having heard the clinical evidence, Ealing CCG governing body has unanimously agreed to move forward with planning the transfer of maternity and interdependent services from Ealing Hospital as soon as possible.
“These plans are about improving care for women across North West London and we can do this by increasing consultant cover and investing in six maternity units in North West London, rather than the current seven.
“It is important to note that no decision on the timing of these changes has been made. The final decision will only be made when we have full assurance from all the trusts, which will look after Ealing mothers and children in the future that they have the capacity, capability and staff in place to deliver high quality services.
“There is a lot of work that now needs to happen across North West London and we will work with all the CCGs and all the trusts to get the necessary services in place and assurance we need to ensure the safe transfer of services.”