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Local London News – Wednesday 20th February


NHS North West London to downgrade four A&E Units

Emergency care departments at Charing Cross, Central Middlesex, Hammersmith and Ealing hospitals will become 24-hour GP-led “urgent care” centres.

The decision was confirmed at a joint committee of Primary Care Trusts in Westminster.

NHS North West London predicts that the changes will save £1billion and will reduce the number of non-acute cases arriving at A&Es, which will improve the quality of care.

Critics say NHS Worth West London has failed to consult properly on these proposals. Andy Slaughter, Labour MP for Hammersmith, said the decision left a “second-class health service for millions of Londoners” and that the A&Es left would be “over-crowded and over-run”.

The “urgent care centres” will still offer outpatient and diagnostic services such as physiotherapy and X-rays, but would not treat life-threatening conditions.

These cases would be referred to the remaining five major acute hospitals with 24-hour A&Es and urgent care centres at Hillingdon, Northwick Park, West Middlesex, Chelsea and Westminster or St Mary’s hospitals.

Dr Mark Spencer, medical director of North West London NHS, said: “What we are recommending across north-west London is that we develop five bigger, better hospitals than we have at the moment.

Passengers on the East Coast Mainline face major delays

Power lines in St Neots, Cambridgeshire have caused severe problems between London and Peterborough.

Around 200 people were stranded at Kings’ Cross Station last night after the last train to Leeds was cancelled.

A rail replacement bus service was involved in a minor accident in Huntingdon.

East Coast Trains say no services are running between London and Peterborough. Limited services are expected to return later this morning.

The problems are having a knock-on effect for other parts of the line, which runs to York, Newcastle and Scotland.

Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson calls plans to move London homeless to the Cathedral City “social cleansing”.

Peterborough City Council leader Marco Cereste has been in talks with Kensington and Chelsea about working together to build houses for people in London and Peterborough.

Stewart Jackson said he could see “no advantages for the city”.

“This is about social cleansing in Kensington and Chelsea,” he said.

“It’s about getting rid of people they don’t want in their borough, who are on benefits, who they have a responsibility for – to house – who are statutorily homeless.”

An average property in Peterborough costs about £150,000. The average home in Kensington and Chelsea costs £1.5M. Kensington and Chelsea has a chronic shortage of affordable homes. The Borough has been exploring potential plans for “mutually beneficial housing arrangements” with several local authorities.


City life makes it harder to concentrate

Researchers from Goldsmiths, University of London have studied a remote tribe in Africa – where some people have remained in the countryside while others have moved to urban areas.

It found the urbanised group found it a lot more difficult to focus their attention.

Researcher Karina Linnell says the difference in powers of concentration was much greater than expected.

Dr Linnell, from the university’s psychology department, carried out cognitive tests with the Himba tribe in Namibia in south west Africa – and also included a further comparison with young people in London.

She found that the Himba tribespeople who had stayed in a rural setting were much better at tests requiring concentration than members of the same tribe who lived in urban areas.

It seems that people living in cities have countless distractions competing for their attention, making them less able to focus on one activity.



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