The Grosvenor pub in West Ealing to re-open at end of April

Food and Fuel, the new owners of The Grosvenor pub, met up with locals in one of their ‘Maggie’s’ outlets on New Broadway W5 last night (Tuesday 18th March). The Grosvenor name will be retained as will the stained glass and beautiful, original wooden bar and panelling. Five real ales are promised as well as English/Mediterranean/Gastro Pub food. No talk of juke boxes, pool tables or Sky Sports! Opening at 11am seven days a week with proper coffee and family friendliness this all sounds like a winner.

The refurb/rebuild has proved somewhat costly and upstairs apart from a live-in manager’s flat the function room has not yet been restored. Hopefully it will be later in the year.

Eric Leach

Your chance to help shape the future of the centre of West Ealing – come along to the Drayton Court on Tuesday at 6.45pm

West Ealing Neighbours is a big supporter of the new West Ealing Centre Neighbourhood Forum (WECNF).  WECNF became a designated public body on 27 March 2013. The forum is a collection of people who live, work or have an interest in the centre of West Ealing who are working together to create a 15 year plan for the area. WECNF operates under the auspices of the 2011 Localism Act.

The public launch and first Annual General Meeting of the forum starts at 6:45pm on Tuesday 18 June at the Drayton Court Hotel in The Avenue. A 12 person Management Committee will be elected at this meeting.

Everyone is welcome to attend the launch/AGM.

You can apply for forum membership and find our more about the forum here

Traders and residents invited to hear about plans for West Ealing centre

On Tuesday 22 January 2013 at 5:30pm at SiLVA Cafe, 148 Broadway, West Ealing local traders are being invited to hear about plans to re-invigorate our High Street.

Anyone can attend – just turn up. The more the merrier. We all need to hear and discuss everyone’s views.

David Highton, Chair of WEN, will be discussing current and future WEN initiatives as well as outlining some London Borough of Ealing (LBE) proposals, which WEN and other local stakeholders have been working on. These include vacant shop initiatives, a business hub, pop up businesses, events and markets.

Eric Leach, Chair of West Ealing Centre Neighbourhood Forum (WECNF), will be discussing the forum’s programme to create a detailed, 15 year spatial plan for the centre of West Ealing. These include policies for social provision, movement, Crossrail, housing and of course the High Street. LBE has a set of movement proposals; WECNF has its own plans; and local businesses have their own ideas too! Initiatives to be discussed include increased car parking, pedestrian improvements, accommodating cyclists, improved bus services, taking full advantage of the arrival of West Ealing Crossrail and better traffic flows.

Matthew McMillan Chief Executive of Ealing Broadway Business Improvement District (EBBID) will explain what a BID is all about. West Ealing Traders’  Association (WETA), WEN. WECNF and LBE are all keen for local traders to form a West Ealing Centre BID organisation.

Healthcare in the Ealing of 2013

Most of  Ealing’s Healthcare Services Will be Managed by NHS General Practitioners: Just How is this Going to Work? 

In six months’ time, a committee dominated by Ealing General Practioner (GP) doctors in the maelstrom of the expiring Ealing Primary Care Trust (PCT) will be running much of Ealing’s NHS healthcare provision. 

 NHS Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group (ECCG) is primarily a group of Ealing GPs who will be responsible for designing and provisioning local health services in Ealing. They will do this by commissioning or buying health services and care services including: 

+ Mental health and learning disability services

+ Urgent and emergency care

+ Most community health services

+ Rehabilitation care

+ Elective hospital care 

Any qualified provider can bid to provide these services. Allegedly at least three Ealing community health services were required to be handed over to any qualified provider in September 2012. I have yet to discover which services they were.

 There are 217 doctors practicing at 84 GP surgeries in Ealing. The largest GP surgery is Queens Walk Surgery, Pitshanger with nine doctors. There are 18 surgeries with a single doctor, and six of these are in Southall. Southall has by far the most GP surgeries with 25, followed by Acton with 12. The complete geographic distribution is as follows:

 25: Southall


10: Northolt

9: Ealing W5

7: Greenford

7: Hanwell

6:West Ealing

3: Chiswick

2: Hounslow

2: Perivale


 I have been unable to discover just how these the ECCG doctors intend to organise themselves individually or collectively to ‘provide’ the healthcare services listed above. No doubt with just a few months to go their plans will be well advanced. I have attended two recent public meetings (26 September and 11 October) at which the ECCG Chair was billed to speak and answer questions on this topic, but she failed to show up at either meeting. What has Dr Mohini Parmar got to hide? 

We are led to believe that as many as 55,500 residents throughout NW London have expressed doubts in writing about a radical restructuring of NHS services and facilities throughout the region.

 However in Ealing we have not been consulted or even informed on how our GPs intend to manage the delivery of healthcare to us in just 6 months’ time. Will it be outsourced – like the still floundering CircleHealth-managed Hinchinbrook Hospital– to a private contractor or contractors? If it will, who is the company or companies? To whom will this company/companies be accountable? Do the private companies lined up or signed up for this outsourced management work include Serco, Virgin Healthcare, Circle Health, Spire, General Healthcare Group and BMI Healthcare?

 Will the CCG engage a private healthcare management company to provide some or all of these healthcare services? Alternatively will GP practices group together and perhaps fund and form (or are forming) new local healthcare administration and management companies? Finally will some GP practices hire in staff and elect to administer and manage their own post PCT operations themselves? 

After seven years’ medical study and training doctors can become GPs. GP practices are probably run by the lead GP partner/ owner GP with possible administrative support from a GP partner or non-medical administrator. GPs always seem very busy when I consult one. One wonders how GPs will find the time to serve effectively and work with peers to manage the £90 million + annual Ealing healthcare budget. If Ealing CCG were to outsource, for example,  its £10 million annual mental health disorders services budget would CCG members have the experience and skills to manage this? It’s unlikely that many Ealing GPs will have any private sector large company procurement experience.

For something as important as life and death and good health and poor health, we need to research and evaluate how our local healthcare is to be organised and provided. And as National Insurance payers and the NHS pay masters, we need to be happy with the arrangements we discover. 

Public Health Ealing’: What is it and How Might it Work by April 2013? 

Public Health is about helping people to stay healthy and avoid becoming ill, so it includes work on a whole range of policy areas such as immunisation, nutrition, tobacco, drugs recovery, sexual health, pregnancy and children’s health. As part of the restructuring of the NHS, Public Health England is being established as part of the Department of Health. ‘Public Health Ealing’ will be part of this and be operational by April 2013. Jackie Chin is now Director of Public Health at the London Borough of Ealing (LBE). 

£18 million is apparently the 2013/4 annual spend for Public Health Ealing and LBE has already announced that 50% of it will be spent on sexual health services and drug and alcohol services. 

Who Will Represent Patients’ and Carers’ Interests in Ealing?

Of course this is also changing. Over the last four years Ealing Local Involvement Network (LINk), under the stewardship of Beth Hales, and the administration of Hestia has performed statutory patient representation in Ealing. In the shiny new world of the Lansley/Hunt NHS, these two will be replaced in April 2013 by Ealing Local HealthWatch to be run by Carmel Cahill and Ealing Community Voluntary Services (based at Lido House,West Ealing). The new organisation will: 

+ Represent the views of patients, carers and the public on the LBE Ealing Health and Wellbeing Board

+ Provide a complaints advocacy service to support people who make a complaint about services.

+ Report concerns about the quality of healthcare to HealthWatchEnglandwho can then recommend that the Ealing CCG take action.



 Eric Leach

2 November 2012

Packed Town Hall lambasts NHS plans for Ealing Hospital

300 Lambast NHS at Public ‘Save our Hospitals’ Debate

300 people packed Victoria Hall at Ealing Town Hall last night (26 September 2012) and vented their fury at NHS plans to decimate healthcare services at Ealing Hospital and throughout the north  west London region. 

Residents, Councillors, NHS staff, trades unionists and MPs were massively critical about the contents of the plans and the inadequacy of the public consultation. It appears that the risk assessment and the equality impact assessment are both flawed and incomplete. 

Emerging from the fog of rhetoric from NHS bosses it is now crystal clear that the NHS wants to re-purpose Ealing Hospital as (what we all view as) just a clinic. No more babies would ever be born at Ealing Hospital – truly ironic now as Ealing Hospital Maternity Unit is the best performing one in the whole region. The sick, wounded and dying will be turned away from its doors for treatment. Nine of the 11 major types of healthcare services will be axed at the hospital. 

Money versus Lives

A massive consensus emerged quickly amongst the audience that whatever the NHS bosses said to the contrary, the proposed cuts were about cutting £1 billion from the region’s NHS healthcare costs by 2015. 5,600 people will lose their jobs and there will be fewer hospital beds available.To dress up what might well be good intentioned aspirations as ‘proposals to improve your local NHS services’ was viewed with much cynicism by the meeting attendees. 

Ealing Hospital is Southall Hospital

Ealing Hospital is in so many ways Southall Hospital. Southall residents and Ealing Hospital staff over and over again voiced their horror at the planned destruction of their hospital. Southall has the highest rates of diabetes, tuberculosis and coronary disease in Ealing. Of all hospitals in the region, Ealing Hospital is the one most used by its immediately local residents. A Cardiologist at Ealing and Hammersmith Hospitals claimed that the serious healthcare problems in Southall had existed for 20 years but had never been addressed. He said that he and many, many of his medical consultant colleagues believed that the plans are unworkable. A lady spoke who had worked at Ealing Hospital Accident and Emergency for 25 years. She was concerned about Southall’s hidden population ie illegal immigrants. If Ealing Hospital effectively or actually closes down just how and where will the thousands of hidden (‘beds in sheds?’) population receive treatment she asked. 

A Southall Councillor claimed that 10,000s of Southall residents without internet access and/or English language skills were being excluded from this public consultation. He asked for many more translations of the 80 pages proposals and the 15 page response form. Southall Library was supplied with just 50 copies of the consultation and response form documents. This was clearly totally inadequate for the 70,000 who live in  Southall. He requested a three month extension to the consultation period. An NHS boss declined his request. 

‘Out of Hospital’ Strategy Flawed

Three of the  eight (yes eight) proposed ‘care settings’ is what many might call community healthcare. This is called ‘out of hospital’ by the NHS and comprises (in NHS jargon) GP practices, a care network (whatever that might be) and health centres. Many residents and NHS staff voiced very real concerns about why there were no details at all about how and where this community ‘out of hospital’ care would take place and the resourcing and facilities needed to provide this care..

A resident had viewed an NHS NW London risk assessment document incompetently left on a desk after a meeting. To her horror she read: 

‘Out of hospital strategy – CODE RED

What are we going to do about it?  – a blank space was the response ’ 


The NHS said that their research states that average journey time from patient pick up to delivery to a hospital in London(or Ealing perhaps?) by ambulance with blue lights flashing was 11.4 minutes. The maximum journey time was 30 minutes. These figures were met by howls of derision. No figures were provided as to the average waiting time for an ambulances in Ealing or the projected waiting times for an ambulance should Ealing A&E close down. A Hanwell Councillor made the point that many of us drive our sick loved ones to Ealing Hospital, and with no flashing blue light travel times to Ealing, Hillingdon, Northwick Park or West Middlesex Hospitals would be much longer. He asked NHS bosses what percentage of Ealing Hospital A&E admissions were delivered by car/taxi? No answer was forthcoming. A lady weighed in with the fact that you need to use three different bus services to get from Southall to Northwick Park Hospital. 

Many made the point that healthcare travellers are not just patients but family and friends. Research showed that regular attendance by loved ones at hospital bedsides speeds up the process of recovery from illness and injury. 

Untested Strategy

A resident of Harrow pointed out that the proposed radical restructuring of healthcare provisioning in our region has not been attempted anywhere else in England. The NHS has admitted that there is no evidence at all that this strategy could or will work. 

The Silence of Ealing GPs

No-one in the audience had any evidence that Ealing GPs supported the proposed changes. This is ironic as in April 2013 Ealing GPs (in the nascent NHS Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group – ECCG) will take over from the NHS Ealing PCT and run Ealing NHS healthcare. A GP actually questioned why Ealing GPs had not been asked their opinions on the proposals by the ECCG. As the ECCG Chair was absent no answer was forthcoming. 

NHS – Are You Listening?

40,000 people have signed petitions opposing the cuts.

On 15 September 2012, 1,000s marched through Ealing Town centre and even more rallied on Ealing Common to show and voice their opposition.

All the region’s MPs, Councillors, Councils, Trades Unions and many, many residents’ and community groups have voiced their opposition to the proposed cuts. 

Notable Absentees

Billed to appear as a speaker was Dr Mohini Parmar, Chair Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group (ECCG). This NHS GP Commissioning Group will replace NHS Ealing PCT and run NHS healthcare in Ealing in just seven month’s time. But, she was nowhere to be seen. 

The local MP Angie Bray was also absent. A speaker from the floor suggested that if Ms Bray was truly serious about resisting the proposed cuts (which the speaker fervently believed emanated from the Tory lead Government’s plans to save £20 billion annual NHS costs) she should resign if the cuts went ahead. 

Given that the meeting was one the largest (perhaps the largest) public debates on the restructuring of healthcare for a generation, across 100 square miles and applicable to two million people in London, London Mayor Boris Johnson should have attended the meeting. Many asked why Mr Johnson is so quiet on this life and death issue of healthcare in the capital. 

Ealing Council Independent Review of NHS Plans

Ealing Council has commissioned a former NHS Chief Executive Tim Rideout to carry out an urgent, independent review of the NHS NW London plans. Ealing Council announced last night that Mr Rideout’s view is that the plans are not robust and are therefore unsafe and open to challenge. A draft of the review exists now but the final version will be placed in the public domain by 5 October 2012. 

Has the NHS Got It Right?

Numbers and percentages were thrown around like confetti both by NHS bosses and by those opposing the changes. Clearly the numbers (beds, nurses, clinicians, costs, admissions, travel times etc) are very important. But the overwhelmingly the  feeling I had as I left the meeting was that we were all being asked to take part in a huge, unprecedented, human experiment – and none of were confident that it was all worth the risk. 

Eric Leach

Hanwell resident

More than1,000 march through Ealing to save local hospital

Saturday 15 September 2012 may well prove to be a red letter day as far as cuts to local NHS healthcare services. I, with my wife and eldest son joined some 1,000 people who marched from Southall to Ealing Common along the Uxbridge Road. There we were joined by some 400 people who had marched from Acton to Ealing Common. The 1,400 or so people who attended the rally on the Common enjoyed speeches for all three Ealing MPs, Hammersmith’s Labour MP Andy Slaughter, Ealing’s Council Leader and senior Trade Unionists. As ever the most rousing and passionate speech came from Steve Pound Ealing North’s Labour MP. Not surprisingly Ealing Central and Acton’s Conservative MP Angie Bray got a mixed reaction from the crowd.

This is the largest protest march and rally I have ever seen in Ealing – and I have lived here more or less continuously for over 40 years.

Many of the marchers waived placards, blew noisy horns and one of them was banging a very loud drum. Young and old, rich and poor, Tories, Labour supporters, LibDems, Councillors, MPs, socialists, NHS staff, teachers’ unions, and many Southall residents took part. Southall is the most deprived part of the borough and has the highest prevalence of diabetes, tuberculosis and coronary heart disease in Ealing.

Ealing Conservatives were very active in distributing copies of the 80 page NHS NW London consultation document along with a simple guide on how to ‘legally’ express your view to retain Ealing Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department.

Eric Leach

Local people to plan the centres of Ealing and West Ealing

According to the new Localism Act local people will soon be able to assemble a Neighbourhood Forum of 21 people or more who will discuss and propose the design of their local area. Save Ealing Centre (SEC), an alliance of 25 residents’ and community groups, has proposed the setting up of two Neighbourhood Forums – one for Ealing centre and one for West Ealingcentre. As part of these initiatives in 2011, SEC sought funding from national government, which if successful would amount to £40,000. We’ll hear soon whether this bid has been successful.

Neighbourhood Forums are required to be made up of a representative group of local stakeholders. I expect residents’ groups, community groups, businesses, faith groups, educational establishments and infrastructure providers to attend and contribute to these forum meetings.

These forum meetings are likely to be a breath of fresh air as they are likely to be the first such regular meetings in modern times at which local people/traders/service providers will be asked about how they want their town centres to be preserved, re-used and /or ‘developed’. These will be difficult discussions in which trade-offs between different needs – like quality of life, culture, healthcare, education, law and order, business and housing – will have to be thrashed out.

Unsurprisingly there are whole ‘rafts’ of planning legislation which the forums will have to wrestle with. At national level we have the newly proposed NationalPlanning PolicyFramework. At regional level we have the new version of The London Plan. At town level we have Ealing Council’s draft Local Development Framework Core Strategy (LDF CS). National government will decide whether it wants to accept Ealing’s LDF CS in early 2012.

All these planning policies contain a presumption in favour of property development, which seems somewhat out of place in a country with massive debts, a depressed construction industry and with no prospects of any significant economic growth for years to come. However it appears that no major political party wants to adopt a common sense policy of making the best use of what we’ve got.

The Localism Act will become fully enabled by April 2012. Neighbourhood Forums have a lifetime of five years. To find out more about Neighbourhood Forums and the Localism Bill you’ll find a useful briefing at To track progress of these Ealing Neighbourhood Forum  initiatives see SEC’s web site at and West Ealing Neighbours’ web site at


Eric Leach

3 January 2012

Pedestrian Safety at the Lido Junction: The Public Have Their Say

On Tuesday 6 December 2011 some 50 people attended a public meeting to discuss Ealing Council’s proposals to make the Lido Junction safe for pedestrians – for the first time in living memory. West Ealing Neighbours (WEN) organised the meeting and it was WEN (along with Five Roads and Kingsdown Residents’ groups) who researched and published its findings and recommendations on the junction in 2009. This report in fact stimulated the Council and Transport (TfL) for London into action.

We are in the middle of a public consultation on the proposals and Councillor Mahfouz, the Council’s Transport Czar, answered questions posed by the audience on the proposals.

Continue reading “Pedestrian Safety at the Lido Junction: The Public Have Their Say”

Government Examines Ealing’s 15 Year Plan – Final Day

DAY 8 – Wednesday 23 November 2011

As part of an ongoing series, Eric Leach reports from the Independent Examination of Ealing Council’s 2026 Local Development Framework Core Strategy (LDF CS).

Elizabeth Fieldhouse, the Government appointed Planning Inspector, today concluded her examination of Ealing Council’s 15 year land use plans. Her public examination hearings, which lasted eight and a half days, have considered Ealing Council’s Local Development Framework Core Strategy (LDF CS).

Hard copies of the latest batch (200+!) of the Inspector’s suggested changes and the Council’s responses were handed out to attendees. There were many queries on the detailed Council responses and none more so than on heritage issues. Representatives from the Ealing Cricket Ground Area Panel (CGAP), Ealing Civic Society (ECS) and the LibDems all made various attempts to make the LDF CS more heritage friendly but met stout resistance from Ealing Council. ECS strongly questioned why there was no explicit protection for Ealing centre’s heritage assets.

Continue reading “Government Examines Ealing’s 15 Year Plan – Final Day”

Government Examines Ealing’s 15 Year Plan – Phasing, delivery and monitoring and UDP

DAY 7 – Wednesday 16 November 2011

As part of an ongoing series, Eric Leach reports from the Independent Examination of Ealing Council’s 2026 Local Development Framework Core Strategy (LDF CS).

I missed the morning session on Maps but attended most of the afternoon session on phasing etc.

The Government Inspector Elizabeth Fieldhouse asked the Council to make explicit reference in the 15 year spatial strategy plans (the Local Development Framework Core Strategy – LDF CS) to the fact that the delivery schedule would be updated annually.

Ealing Civic Society (ECS) argued that parts of the delivery schedule (eg education) were not up to date or consistent and the Inspector asked the Council to bring the schedule up to date in the final LDF CS submission document.

The Inspector emphasised that although there were quantitative targets for some aspects of the LDF CS (eg office space, industrial space, new homes, and retail space) such targets were missing for other aspects of the plan. The Inspector also wanted to see more attention given to phasing in the delivery schedule. In order for the LDF Annual Monitoring Report (AMR) to be effective there had to be quantitative reporting against delivery milestones.

Continue reading “Government Examines Ealing’s 15 Year Plan – Phasing, delivery and monitoring and UDP”