STRUCTURE: NHS North West London has launched a consultation into a major shake-up of services across its eight boroughs.

The commissioners want to increase the amount of care provided in the community while downgrading A&E services at Ealing, Charing Cross and Central Middlesex hospitals.

The consultation will close on October 8.

Anne Rainsberry, chief executive of NHS North West London and senior responsible officer for the programme, said: “This is an important and significant programme that I believe represents a major opportunity to improve healthcare for the two million people in north west London.

“Our services are adequate now but will not cope in future – we have a growing and ageing population and we are not geared up to cope. I believe the changes proposed will help us deliver better results and save more lives for generations to come.

“The next stage of the process is by far the most important; we want to hear from as many people as possible during the consultation to test and refine the proposals. I look forward to hearing everyone’s views.”

The programme’s medical director Mark Spencer said: “The absolute priority of the programme is to improve patient care.

“We believe that by investing in local, out of hospital care and concentrating some hospital services like emergency care on fewer sites, we can provide the best possible care for the people of North West London.

“The changes will allow us to create a better system for keeping people well in the community and preventing the unnecessary hospital admissions that are putting a strain on NHS resources.

“Change can be tough but if we don’t take this opportunity we will face thinly spread services or unplanned closures on safety grounds. But if we make these proposals work for patients, we really will save many lives and improve the care that people experience every day. This is an opportunity not to be missed.”