Four north-west London A&E departments face closure

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Media captionFour of the nine will go under plans to save money and reorganise health care in the area.

Four out of nine accident and emergency wards in north-west London will close under NHS reorganisation plans, it has been revealed.

Health bosses intend to close the department at Middlesex Hospital, while another three pairs of hospitals will go head-to-head to keep theirs.

The NHS says better care can be given by fewer more specialised centres.

But both Conservative and Labour politicians raised concerns over the scale of the changes.

Under current plans - which are still being finalised - Northwick Park and Hillingdon hospitals will definitely keep their accident and emergency departments.

But other hospitals will be pitted against each other to see which keeps its ward.

Either West Middlesex or Ealing will lose its accident and emergency ward.

So too will either Hammersmith or St Mary's hospital, in Paddington.

And either Charing Cross or the Chelsea and Westminster will lose its department.

Explaining the changes, Mark Spencer, medical director at North West London NHS, said: "The plan we had, and we looked at this very hard, is we need to concentrate some of our services on to fewer sites so we can produce higher quality care.

"That means we are intending to concentrate accident and emergency departments with the emergency surgery units behind those on to five sites from the current nine sites we have at the moment."

Image caption Northwick Park Hospital is set to keep its ward

But Councillor Joe Carlebach, Conservative, of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, said: "We have some serious concerns at closing that many A&Es in such a large region.

"It's obviously going to have a huge impact on the residents of the region."

And Karen Buck, Labour MP for Westminster North, said: "The question is how do we get there from here at a time of chaotic reorganisation in the health service, when planning is falling apart, when north-west London hospitals alone have to save over £120m between now and 2014."

A final shortlist of recommended closures is being drawn up now.

A full consultation on the finalised plans is expected in early summer.

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