FUNDAMENTAL flaws in the NHS plans to downgrade Ealing Hospital are being claimed by a health expert.

Former health service executive Tim Rideout was commissioned by Ealing Council to carry out an independent review of changes to Ealing Hospital, which would involve it losing nine of its 11 services, including accident and emergency.

Three other A&E departments in the area would also be lost.

Mr Rideout considers the plans hurried and unrealistic.

He says the public consultation is inadequate and the proposals are not driven by a desire to meet the health needs of patients in the borough. 

A key concern is that the local health system will not be able to cope with the scale of  change.

The standard of healthcare, he says, may drop as patients are forced to go to hospitals providing a poorer service - and there could be a significant loss of clinical expertise.

The increase in travel time for emergency patients is also a worry to him.

The NHS proposals, he says, rely on primary and community health services which are not currently in place. Plans to improve these services are not due to be implemented until after Ealing has been downgraded.

The report will be considered at a public meeting in the Queen’s Hall, Ealing Town Hall at 3pm next Friday, October 5.

Mr Rideout’s report will be available online at before the meeting.