Ealing Council stages rally over plans to close A&E

Hundreds of people took part in the rally

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Hundreds of people have taken part in a rally over plans to close an accident and emergency department in west London.

NHS North West London has put forward plans to end A&E services at Ealing Hospital under its Shaping a Healthier Future programme.

A request by Ealing Council asking permission to seek a judicial review has been refused by a High Court Judge.

A council spokesman described the plans as "monstrous".

'Save lives'

The Independent Reconfiguration Panel, which advises ministers on proposals for changes to the health service in England, has submitted a review of the plans to the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Councillor Julian Bell, leader of the council, said: "Everyone involved in the campaign will be devastated by this decision. The future of these vital health services now rests with Jeremy Hunt who can still reject these monstrous plans.

"I would urge him to scrap these plans now in response to our very real concerns about the safety of these plans and the ability of remaining services to cope."

The changes, which are part of a reorganisation of healthcare services, were approved in February by a Joint Committee of the PCTs (JCPCT).

Under the Shaping a Healthier Future programme, A&E units are under threat at Charing Cross, Central Middlesex, Hammersmith and Ealing hospitals.

Dr Mark Spencer, medical director of the Shaping a Healthier Future programme, said he had "no doubt that our plans will save lives".

The judge rejected all the challenges on 10 October, ruling the needs of local people had been "specifically considered and addressed".

Ealing Council's cabinet will discuss the council's next steps on Tuesday.

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