EALING councillors have put party politics aside as they urge residents to join the campaign against the closure of the borough’s only A&E department.

Under controversial plans, Ealing would be downgraded to a ‘local hospital’, stripping it of nine of the 11 major types of service currently on site.

The leader of Ealing Council, Julian Bell, said: “Across the political spectrum, we are opposed to these plans. Nobody in their right mind can think that it’s right that a population of more than 320,000 doesn’t have a major hospital to provide essential services like A&E, intensive care, maternity and paediatrics.”

The council is calling on anyone who lives or works in the borough to sign its petition against the plans and to respond to the NHS consultation, which began this week.

David Millican, leader of the Conservative group on the council, said “The NHS claims that, under blue light conditions, people will still be able to get to A&E quickly, but you have to wonder what the effect will be on all those with long-term chronic conditions, who have to make their own way to hospital, week in and week out, for treatment.

“We hope people will get behind the council’s campaign and make sure they sign the petition and respond to the NHS consultation.”

Two motions have been passed at council meetings, setting out opposition to the plans.

Gary Malcolm, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the council, said: “These plans will not only affect Ealing residents, but also those who work in the borough or spend their spare time here. Everyone wants the reassurance that they are never too far from help if the worst happens, but if these plans get the go ahead, for much for North West London that will no longer be true.”

The campaign e-petition can be found at www.ealing.gov.uk/petitions