Facilities deemed unsuitable for screening and segregating coronavirus sufferers
The Urgent Treatment Centre at Hammersmith Hospital will close from 8am on Friday, March 20, for an unknown period of time due to the coronavirus outbreak.
A local NHS spokesman said the centre in Du Cane Road, White City, will remain closed “for as long as it needs to be, there is no time scale.”
The announcement came on 19 March at about 2pm and was made by Hammersmith and Fulham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the NHS body which manages the centre.
A statement on the CGG’s website reads, “We have taken the difficult decision to temporarily close the Hammersmith Hospital Urgent Treatment Centre with immediate effect from 8am on Friday, 20 March.”
Patients who need treatment for COVID-19 are being screened and segregated from other patients upon arrival at the Urgent Care Centre at Charing Cross Hospital.
The CGG’s statement continues, “The urgent treatment centre at Hammersmith Hospital has neither the space nor the clinical capacity to segregate patients at the front door in this way. Charing Cross also has an emergency department [A&E] in case a patient is taken seriously ill.
“This is an unavoidable decision, taken as an emergency measure to help us deal with the developing major incident around COVID-19. We plan to return to business as usual once the emergency is over.”
Merril Hammer – a coordinator of the local ‘Save Our NHS’ campaign that battled to protect Charing Cross Hospital – said the decision could be bad news for residents in the poorest areas of Hammersmith and Fulham.
“We note, yet again, it is the poorer part of the borough,” said Ms Hammer.
“We all expect the corona crisis to run for some time. The CCG should be taking serious steps to ensure that people from the north of the borough are able to seek urgent care locally.
“We know that travel from that part of the borough to either Charing Cross or St Mary’s hospitals can be difficult. And even more so if there are young children to manage or if people are elderly or disabled.”
With the Urgent Treatment Centre due to close, residents who need urgent medical attention for anything non-life-threatening can alternatively visit the Parsons Green Walk-In Centre in Fulham.
Owen Sheppard – Local Democracy Reporter
March 19, 2020