A SHORTAGE of doctors at Central Middlesex Hospital in Acton Lane means its A&E department will not open from 7pm to 8am from this week and for the foreseeable future.

The hospital cites patient safety as a primary reason for such a drastic cut, which denies thousands of Acton residents a night-time A&E service.

Patients needing emergency treatment will have to go to Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow, which will operate at a higher capacity.

The hospital says it has become increasingly difficult to maintain clinical excellence after the opening of the GP- led Urgent Care Centre at the hospital.

When the new 24-hour centre opened, A&E was treating 200 people on average per day.

This dropped to a 70-patient average, with only two or three patients treated from 7pm to 8am.

“As a result, A&E staff are no longer seeing enough patients to maintain their clinical skills and expertise,” said Medical Director Prof Rory Shaw.

The hospital decided it was better to close A&E overnight, rather than have sporadic closures due to doctor shortages.

The Urgent Care Centre treats seven out of ten people arriving there. Prof Shaw said most people would not notice any difference under the new arrangement.