Charing Cross Hospital stands to lose its A&E under new proposals.
HEALTH bosses have come under fire for 'wasting' £7million on the public consultation into their controversial A&E closure plans.
NHS North West London's Shaping a Healthier Future scheme will see Hammersmith and Charing Cross hospitals losing the emergency departments - along with Ealing and Central Middlesex - as part of a streamlining of services.
The trust, which cares for more than 1.9 million people across the region, ran their expensive 14-week consultation this summer which was met with a 60,000 strong petition and community marches protesting the closures.
It includes £3million in fees to management consultancy firm McKinsey and £650,000 to public relations firm The London Communications Agency while also producing 100,000 copies of their 80-page consultation document and a distribution of 500,000 leaflets.
But Hammersmith and Fulham Council say the consultation was flawed as it asked residents to pick a number of closure options but did not give them the option to reject the proposals outright.
Councillor Marcus Ginn, cabinet member for community care, says: “Instead of wasting huge amounts of taxpayers’ cash on management consultants and spin doctors the NHS should have spent the money keeping front-line services going. I could have told them for free that H&F residents want Charing Cross to remain a major hospital and the money could have kept the casualty unit open for a whole year."
Andy Slaughter MP added: “This has been a phony consultation from day one. It is not only the amount of money they have wasted at a time when they say the closures are due to a lack of NHS funds.
“It is also the fact they have not spent the money on genuinely informing people and giving them the opportunity to comment but on spin and loaded questionnaires and attacking residents opposing the closures.”
But NHS North West London insist the A&E closures and downgrading of hospitals will help save lives and defended the cost of its consultation.
A spokesman said: "The £7m total cost of this programme works out at less than £4 per person for the population of north-west London, and represents just 0.2 per cent of the total £3.4bn spent on healthcare there every year.
"This programme will save hundreds of lives - and the value of that is incalculable. We strongly defend this expenditure, clinicians all over north-west London have said they believe it is the right way to develop better care, and they strongly believe it is in the best interests of their patients."