According to the CQC, in their recent Inspection Report, Ealing Hospital staff ‘treat patients with compassion and kindness and respect their privacy and dignity – certainly good to hear but not surprising to us.
As we move closer to the break up of our NHS into 42 new ‘Integrated Care Systems’ (ICS) there are grave concerns about unreasonable targets, placing even greater pressures on staff to be ‘more productive’, and big financial squeezes. It seems that the North West London ICS, which includes Ealing, is starting its life with a £93 million deficit – and it’s a similar story around the country.
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Once again Ealing Save Our NHS is joining in the festivities with our colourful Stall and some fun for the kids. We have a great new leaflet calling on the new NWL ICS not to allow private companies to sit on their Boards, and balloons and stickers too. It has become a tradition to have a photo opportunity and this year ‘Skeletons’ are the theme again, with our ‘face in the hole’ as you can see from the photo above.
If you are visiting Hanwell Carnival please come and say a hello, take a photo and a leaflet or have a look at our new leaflet here.


We were delighted in May to have Paul Day from the Pharmacists Defence Association & Union as our Guest Speaker and he was really fascinating. We certainly realised we didn’t know very much about Pharmacists at all!
There are 58,000 Pharmacists in the UK, 66% are female and 45% BAME but seniors are usually men.
Mostly pharmacists are employees not owners. The PDA has 34,000 members and is the only independent union for pharmacists. Half the sector is in the hands of 10 companies- Boots and Lloyds are the best known in London.
To qualify as a pharmacist takes a minimum of five years and although they have considerable medical training, the emphasis is on supplying medicines to meet individual needs. Perhaps it’s not a surprise that they often pick up on GPs mistakes and can help with more minor conditions.
Pharmacists as we know are the most accessible part of NHS where anyone can speak to a health professional and sometimes that’s what many of us do as when we can’t see out GPs.
Current issues for the union include; pay and workplace pressure; violence & abuse; safer pharmacies; unnecessary closures; remote supervision and prescription charges.
Interesting to note on unnecessary closure, that despite Boots sent £4 billion to their parent company despite closing pharmacies at times due to staff shortages – profits first!
Oliver, our Chair did a quick recording which you can hear on YouTube – well worth doing.
PHOTO 3 Centene Protest 3.2.22


An investigation by BBC’s Panorama (shown on Monday 13th June) has found that Operose, the UK’s biggest chain of GP surgeries, has let less-qualified Patient Associates (PA) see patients without adequate supervision leading to claims that the company is putting profits before care quality. A PA can see patients and support GPs in diagnosis and patient management, but is supposed to have supervision from a GP.
The BBC sent in undercover reporter Jackie Wakefield to work as a receptionist in one of the 51 GP surgeries owned by Operose Health, a subsidiary of US private insurer, Centene. It was at this surgery that a GP said they were short of eight doctors and the practice manager said they hired the less qualified Patient Associates because they were “cheaper” than GPs – Operose employs six times as many physician associates as the NHS average, according to NHS data.
For every 2,000 registered patients, there are on average the equivalent of 1.2 full-time GPs. But at Operose practices the average is half that,at a little over 0.6 full time equivalent GPs
While undercover, Panorama was also told about a backlog of important patient referral documents, often unread by doctors or pharmacists for many months.
NHS campaigners who opposed the takeover of AT Medics GP Surgeries in 2021 by Operose/Centene have certainly been vindicated.
You can read more on this story here
And if you can access BBC I Player you can still watch the excellent Panorama expose which was shown on Monday 13th June at 8.00pm on BBC 1.


The CQC did an unannounced inspection of Ealing and Northwick Park Medical Care and Core Surgery and a separate inspection of how ‘well led’ the London North West Trust is. Overall the Trust is still rated as ‘requiries improvement’and the Trust itself agrees that is a fair rating at this time.
Whilst Ealing Hospital medical care staff were deemed to ‘treat patients with compassion and kindness and respect their privacy and dignity’, overall the service was rated as ‘requires improvement’. Reasons for this rating included – high vacancies among nursing staff, uncertainty about responsibilies in some areas and senior executive teams and some ward leaders not being visible, as based at Northwick Park. ESON is not surprised by some of the problems as we have maintained that Ealing has been neglected by the Trust until fairly recently.
Surgery however, was rated as ‘good overall’ with similar comments about the treatment of patients and good leadership within the surgical teams. There was also one area in medical care and two in surgery that were rated as ‘outstanding’. One of these was upskilling surgical staff to enable outpatient and inpatient teams to work together more responsively to improve patient outcomes – good news for us!
Northwick Park received the same ratings as Ealing for both medical care and surgery.
We look forward to hearing how the Trust plans to address the inspectors concerns and achieve a ‘good overall’ rating, which it has committed to do.


In October this year the Government has said that Primary Care Networks (groups of GP surgeries) must provide extended hours from 6.30 – 8.00pm Monday Friday and 9.00 – 5.00pm on Saturday in the area covered. For many patients who work full time this must sound like a really positive move.
Primary Care Networks range from 5-10 practices so the chance of seeing your own GP during the extended hours is small. It is hard enough not being able to see your own GP but this would make continuity of care even less likely.
Latest figures of GP numbers show that there is just over 1 GP for every 2200 patients. There are 1343 fewer doctors then in 2017 but 3.1 million more patients – it’s no wonder that GPs are leaving.
The British Medical Association, who represent doctors, are not in favour of this extension of hours and apparently they haven’t been consulted despite their best efforts. They think it will only add to the number of GPs leaving the service.
It is an example of yet another sticky plaster fix from this Government. Instead of properly funding and training more GPs – lets just try and squeeze more out of them!


The NHS is a “Blockbuster healthcare system in the age of Netflix,” according to Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, who presumably thinks that – like Netflix – the NHS needs to be saddled with unsustainable debt, much more expensive than its rivals, and falling behind on quality and options.
“He said large-scale changes were needed in areas such as the use of technology and data to help frontline workers deliver the high-quality service the public expects.
And this includes a big push on productivity to save £4.6 Billion a year and definitely no new money.
It is expected that the managers will once again be under the hammer even though it is generally held that the NHS has far too few managers. They are only 2% of the workforce and as a result doctors and nurses are being forced to spend hours doing managerial and admin work, time that could be better spent doing actual doctoring and nursing.
More on this story here


The well-known author and former doctor Adam Kay has agreed to speak and answer questions at our online July Meeting. He is best known for his book, This is Going to Hurt’, which was recently a television series. The book and series focus on his experiences as a obstetrics and gynaecology junior doctor from 2004-10.
The series was ironically partly filmed in Ealing Hospital’s empty Maternity Unit, which was an added incentive for him to speak to us.
You can hear Adam Kay on Tuesday 26th July – more details nearer the time.


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