Imperial College London

Imperial College London raises concern over NHS review

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South Kensington campus at dusk

Imperial College London joined health leaders in calling for world-class services to be retained for patients in North West London.

Imperial today joined health leaders in calling for world-class services to be retained for patients in North West London, following a new NHS England decision that could put them at risk.

We have very strong clinical partnerships with the Royal Brompton Hospital. We remain fully committed to these partnerships, to our collaborations, to our staff, and to the patients we serve.

– Professor Alice Gast

President, Imperial College London

Imperial College President Professor Alice Gast said it was vital to keep renowned heart and lung services delivered through the National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI) in North West London, where it works in close partnership with a number of hospitals, such as the Royal Brompton, and where it benefits from world-leading research carried out at the College.

Following the long awaited review of congenital heart disease services by NHS England, Imperial said it looked forward to working with the authority and other NHS partners in a fair and transparent process. Professor Gast said the long term potential removal of Royal Brompton Hospital’s services from North West London threatened a far wider patient population than cardiology and respiratory alone, and the Royal Brompton Board should consider its obligations to all patient care in North West London. 

The Royal Brompton Hospital, the Royal Marsden Hospital and the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital are part of a wider network that includes joint appointments, facilities and many shared services including cancer, specialist paediatrics, cystic fibrosis, cardiology and radiology.

Vital services

Imperial President Professor Gast said: “We are committed to supporting the National Heart and Lung Institute. We are very proud of our long history of research and clinical expertise in these fields and, perhaps most importantly, we are convinced that we provide a better service to patients by having these services in North West London, in close collaboration with our research at Imperial. We have very strong clinical partnerships with the Royal Brompton Hospital. We remain fully committed to these partnerships, to our collaborations, to our staff, and to the patients we serve. It is vital for them that we retain these services in this part of London.”

Royal Brompton Hospital

Royal Brompton Hospital

Lesley Watts, Chief Executive of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are very pleased that NHS England has not proceeded to decommission paediatric congenital heart disease services from Royal Brompton Hospital by April 2019 as had previously been outlined. The provision of specialist respiratory and cardiac services by the Brompton form part of a complex and vitally important network of services that ensure the highest quality care to patients in our sector. We remain firmly committed along with our other academic and health partners to find a long term solution within North West London for the benefits of patients and our world leading research.”

Professor Jonathan Weber, Interim Dean of Imperial College’s Faculty of Medicine, said: “It is most unclear how our patients will benefit from the proposed relocation of the Royal Brompton Hospital. Imperial College is the only wholly science-based university in the UK and its world-class research has led to and is continuing to deliver life-changing new therapies, devices and diagnostics for our patients, in partnership with all our AHSC hospitals in west London. Relocation of the Brompton Hospital will severely impact on the potential of Imperial discoveries to be translated into better patient care for patients with severe and complex cardiorespiratory disease and will also destabilise other clinical services in North West London that benefit from Imperial’s academic expertise.”

World-leading care

The reaction from Imperial and other institutions has also been echoed by NHLI staff.

Professor Wisia Wedzicha, Professor of Respiratory Medicine at the NHLI, said: “This review focuses on the importance of collaboration and co-location but appears to ignore exactly the same collaboration and co-location which has enabled us to deliver such excellent services on this site for so many years. My colleagues and I are able to deliver excellent care to our patients precisely because of the current depth and breadth of our relationships within our institute, within the Brompton, and more widely with other local hospitals. It would cause huge uncertainty and ultimately jeopardise good patient care if we were to dismantle these partnerships.”

Professor Clare Lloyd, Head of Respiratory Translational Science at the NHLI, said: “The NHLI is an important part of our Medical Faculty at Imperial and the fact that it is located close to the College’s South Kensington campus, Royal Brompton Hospital, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, and other key local partners allows NHLI staff to deliver world-leading care, research and education, day after day. We strongly believe that the RBH should stay aligned to the NHLI and Imperial, here in North West London.”

See the press release of this article

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Hannah MacLachlan

Hannah MacLachlan
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