• Business case for £500m north west London capital programme not approved by NHSI
  • Regulator asks for more information after concerns about accuracy of activity reduction figures
  • Future of the programme across eight London boroughs now uncertain

NHS Improvement’s board has halted a £500m reconfiguration programme in north west London after concerns about activity projections.

The regulator heard the strategic outline case for the Shaping a Healthier Future programme at its most recent board meeting and has now confirmed it has not approved it to go the next stage of development.

West middlesex hospital

The plans include expanding emergency units at West Middlesex University Hospital

NHSI said it was instead “asking the north west London health economy to provide some further information before our board can properly make a decision on the strategic outline case, in order to carry out our role of assuring that the proposals set out a sound case for capital investment”.

HSJ understands the board had concerns about overoptimistic projections for how much activity the programme would move out of the acute sector.

The £500m would be spent over 10 years and include £69m on improving GP practices; £140m for “modernising and building new out of hospital community hubs”; plus expanding the emergency units at West Middlesex and Hillingdon hospitals while adding more critical care and postsurgical beds to Northwick Park Hospital.

A spokeswoman for the programme said it had been accepted at London level by NHS Improvement and nationally by NHS England.

She said after it was approved by NHS Improvement nationally: “It will go to the Department of Health and the Treasury with the aim of being included in the autumn budget.”

The controversial reconfiguration programme has already drawn criticism from local councils. Ealing Council has opposed the downgrade of the A&E department at Ealing Hospital, which is now part of London North West Healthcare Trust.

Originally part of the same programme, Shaping a Healthier Future has now split the business case process for work in Hammersmith and Fulham and Charing Cross Hospital from the rest of the project. There has been a war of words over Cohering Cross Hospital between the local authority and Imperial College Healthcare Trust, which runs the hospital.