More doctors needed for West Ealing

Sitting in the Grosvenor House Surgery in West Ealing yesterday morning I was struck by just how busy it was.  I’m not there all that often but often enough to know this was a very busy morning. Yes, maybe a Monday morning is always busy, but it felt more than that. The surgery was packed with people of all ages and more kept coming in and we had to shuffle round for new arivals to find anywhere to sit. If it’s as busy as this now what will it be like in a few years time when the Green Man Lane Estate development is complete and the population on it has increased from around 800 to some 2,000? Grosvenor House is the nearest surgery so surely most residents will look to register with it?

I looked up the 95-page document on the Green Man Lane Estate development that went to the planning committee on 1st September 2010 and it had this to say about healthcare provision:

  1. Education and Health There are currently 41 GPs working within 800m of the Site and it has been confirmed that all are registering new patients.  The development scheme will introduce 242 new households (approximately 1,250+ people) with a mix of age groups, which will require a range of medical facilities. The PCT’s preference for addressing the impacts of the development is to secure a monetary contribution for improved equipment/ facilities; and consequently the applicant has agreed to a clause within the S106 agreement contributing towards the borough’s health facilities.

Further on I found this:

a)    A contribution of £190,000 by the developer towards the improvement of healthcare provision in the local area;

So, if I’ve got it right, the developers pay £190,00 to the Primary Care Trust to address the impact on primary healthcare of some 1200 new residents. Since then, of course, PCT’s are soon to be abolished and replaced by the Clinical Commissioning Groups – in our case, a group of Ealing GPs will be responsible for designing and provisioning local health and care services (more details on this here).

Residents will soon start moving in to Phase 1 of the development and the whole development will take about 8 years to complete. That sounds like there’s lots of time but in a few years there will probably be hundreds of new residents already living there and needing a GP.  So it feels like planning needs to be underway now to increase the number of GPs and other healthcare services.  My next step is going to be to contact the Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group to find out what’s happening with the planning. I’ll post my findings as soon as I hear back.







Tackling crime in West Ealing – update from the police

Following our article in the January newsletter about law and order concerns in West Ealing, we invited Inspector Susan Hayward, Ealing Safer Neighbourhoods Manager, to respond. She  writes:
‘Ealing Borough Police are aware of the impact of these recent incidents of violence on the local community. Immediately after these incidents additional patrols by local officers and PCSOs were arranged to provide reassurance to both the residential and business communities. In addition to this, a number of residential and business properties in the area have been visited by members of their local safer neighbourhoods team.

Whilst several of these investigations are still ongoing, we have made a number of arrests which have resulted in individuals being charged and sentenced at court. We are making every effort to bring these offenders to justice.

We will continue to meet with the WEN to listen and to respond to any concerns. In order to co-ordinate a long term response to some issues raised, meetings have been arranged with representatives from the local Safer Neighbourhoods Teams, Local Authority Community Safety Unit, Local Ward Panel, Local Councillor, Local Church, Residents Association and Eric Leach (WEN) . This will allow Ealing Police to work closely with partners and the local community to address these concerns and develop plans to help in the future.’

WEN is interested to find out how West Ealing stacks up in the ‘crime stakes’ – in other words are we more crime ridden than other comparable areas, and if so, what can we do about it, if anything? One of our committee has been looking at recent figures and collating some preliminary thoughts – which we’ll include in the next newsletter. If anyone would like to contribute to this task, please email us –

Stabbing at West Ealing bus stop

According to a story on the Ealing Today website, a fight this morning at the bus stop outside The Gym (old Daniels building) led to one man being stabbed. It doesn’t sound life threatening fortunately. The police have increased foot patrols in the area. Unfortunately, there has been a run of serious incidents in West Ealing over the past months with the most recent – a fight between two gangs – just before Christmas. The whole question of local law and order will be looked at in WEN’s January newsletter which will be published on Friday and will be on our website from then.

Anyone else having problems with waste collection?

Hi, I’ve phoned Ealing Council about 20 times since April to report missed collections and have had 4 letters acknowledging my complaints but nothing improves. About 25% of the time all the recycling and black bag rubbish goes on the right day. About 50% of the time, one or two categories (varies which ones) are not picked up; when I report it to the call centre the next day, whatever didn’t get collected is then collected. About 25% of the time, two categories are missed and the recollection only picks up one of the missed categories and the other one stays till I ring again or the next collection day.

I spoke to one of the recollection gang today and they said it was because the new contractors, Enterprise, had reduced the number of waste vehicles available by 16, and increased the size of the remaining ones – and this means they can’t get round some of the street corners.

Thinks: if that’s the case, why don’t the operatives move the rubbish up to the nearest accessible street corner and collect from there?

The recollecters said that they had hundreds of tasks on their log-sheets – and they think it’s more expensive to recollect than collect correctly the first time.

I asked the call centre at Ealing council how I can escalate my complaint but have heard nothing yet (only rang yesterday).

Is anyone else having problems?


More back garden development? – proposed changes to planning laws over back garden extensions

One of WEN’s members is keen to raise awareness  about the government’s proposed changes to planning laws to allow larger back garden extensions without needing permission. It’s a topic that’s certainly got a number of local councils stirred up and could affect local residents.

He writes  ‘The government plans to change Planning laws so that your neighbour can build a 6-metre extension 4 metres high without needing any permission from anyone – least of all from you.

This may be fine for cabinet ministers who live in spacious areas. But 80% of us live incities, where small gardens provide most of the green space. In our terrace, the back gardens are 12 metres long. Half your neighbour’s garden gone – perhaps on both sides of you? Plus separate outbuildings, if they choose? And you’ll get no protection from Planning laws that used to protect you from overbearing, dominating, character-destroying developments. The government wants this to happen!

The government’s consultation period ends 24 December. We need all our friends across the country to say what they think of this proposal. You can reply online at this location:

or you can write to Helen Marks via e-mail:

or on paper:

Helen Marks

Permitted Development Rights – Consultation

Department for Communities and Local Government

Zone 1/J3 Eland House

Bressenden Place

London SW1E 5DU

Tell your MP and David Cameron and Eric Pickles what you think. And get your friends across the country to do the same – or we could all find ourselves in concrete jungles.’

Download this page at

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

A blot on West Ealing: the shame that is Canberra Road

Fly-tipping this week in Canberra Road

To be honest Canberra Road is driving me nuts!  Canberra Road is the service road that runs along the north side of Sainsbury’s and across Melbourne Ave by the side of Luckhurst’s and to the back of Lidl’s. I pass it almost every day and almost without fail it’s a disgrace – dumped black bags, old sofas, bags of clothes and overflowing wheelie bins. The problem is that it’s at the back of a row of shops where deliveries have to take place and it now is the entrance to a host of new flats built on top of many of these shops (some of which do not appear to have any of their own bins) and it has a large charity collection bin for clothes. All in all, it’s seen as a good dumping ground for people wanting to fly-tip all manner of unwanted goods. In fairness, the Council tries hard to keep it clean. I talked to one of the street cleaners a week or so ago who was having to clear up there and he said Council trucks come along every day to take away dumped rubbish. But it shouldn’t be like this. Why should we have to put up with constant fly-tipping along this road?

From a West Ealing Neighbours point of view Canberra Road is the key link between Melbourne Avenue, the heart of West Ealing, and St James Avenue where we hold a variety of events – Family Day, the annual arts and crafts fair and occasional craft markets. We need to reclaim this road from the fly-tippers and make it a decent road to walk along as opposed to the nasty, rubbish strewn road it is most of the time.

I confess I don’t think it will be easy to clear up Canberra Road but we need to try. I’m going to ask the Council if a CCTV camera can be put there for a while to catch the fly-tippers. But we need more than that. We need to make it look decent, so any ideas are very welcome.



Residents’ concerns about drug dealing in West Ealing are being addressed by police and Community Safety team

Following up on West Ealing Neighbours’ recent public meeting a West Ealing resident writes:

The young man had a limp and looked uneasy. As my neighbour watched him from an upstairs window, he crossed and re-crossed Mattock Lane several times, hovering near St John’s Church. After 20 minutes a car drew up, the man got into the front seat. A minute later he stepped back on to the street and headed for Dean Gardens.

A drug deal? Probably. Certainly when I told the police about this incident, and another that had taken place near St John’s Church a few days earlier, you could see the police sergeant’s ears prick up. He wanted to know what time these deals usually happened? What time of day should he send his officers on patrol?

My conversation with the police was at WEN’s recent meeting about drug dealing on the streets of W13. While grateful to WEN for organising the event, privately I doubted that it would achieve anything tangible. Like most opportunities to meet officials, it would be a PR job, a chance for the police and local councillors to tell the public how well they are doing, to pat us on the head and send us home.

I am pleased to say that I was wrong. Of course there was some PR – the police were keen to tell us that their work at the St John’s Church soup kitchen has been effective, which it has. But what I liked about this meeting was that local police officers and a former Met officer, Paul Dunn, now working with Ealing Council’s Community Safety Team, didn’t just pontificate, they listened to the concerns of residents and offered to engage with the community to address the issue of local drug dealing.

I pointed out that the area around St John’s Church attracts addicts for three reasons: the availability of methadone at the chemists on St John’s Parade, the soup kitchen, and the privacy offered by the footpath behind the nearby allotments. Surely the area should have some compensatory policing?

Within days I noticed uniformed officers cycling through the area. I hope this will continue and believe that it will be most useful if the patrols are at random times. Paul Dunn offered to join me and a fellow resident on a walkabout of the area so we were able to show him the footpath, and he could see that it is out of sight of houses and businesses. “I’d like to see a CCTV camera here and signs saying ‘Smile, you’re on camera,’” he suggested. So would we.

We showed him a hedge where drug-taking equipment has been hidden, and he observed the proximity of the chemist, the soup kitchen and a poorly lit alley where there is sometimes anti-social behaviour. We suggested other people in the area to whom Mr Dunn might talk, and he has been as good as his word in meeting them.

I wouldn’t wish to exaggerate the level of drug dealing in the area where I live. But it happens, every resident here is aware of it and we want to stop it becoming a major problem. And now I feel that someone in authority who has relevant expertise is listening and prepared to work with the community. Success will depend on two-way communication but a dialogue has begun
and that can only be helpful.

If you see any suspicious activity, phone 101. This will get you through to
police near you. If you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime stoppers on 0800 555 111. You can also e mail:

The Grim Reaper could soon be in charge of Ealing’s heritage

Last night I attended the first Ealing Council LDF Advisory Committee Meeting. The Local Development Framework is our National Government’s ‘vehicle’ for Local Authorities to define their preferred use of land within their borders for the next 15 years.

Attendees attending the meeting who were allowed to speak were seven Councillors and a handful of Council Officers. I was one of a precious, small group of residents who were invited to attend as observers. It reminded me of attending a lap dancing club where you could watch the girls ‘dance’, but you were not allowed to touch them.

Chairing the meeting was Leader of the Council Councillor Julian Bell. He was on his first day of holiday from his day job at The Houses of Parliament.

Continue reading “The Grim Reaper could soon be in charge of Ealing’s heritage”