20 Nov 2012

Passport not sufficient ID to get into Brent Council meeting

Passport not sufficient ID to get into Brent Council meeting

(first posted by Martin Francis on

There was increased security at last night's meeting of Brent Council and a ticket system for getting into the building. When I arrived there was a small group of lobbyists outside from the Counihan Family Campaign and Brent Fightback. Brent Fightback had been giving out a leaflet making the case for the Council to set a needs based budget. Railings had been erected at the foot of the Town Hall steps and two police cars were in attendance.

When I asked if they were going to observe the meeting one of the lobbyists told me that the council meetings were so tedious and mind-numbing that she did not wish to go in.  Others however said that they had been denied entry by an officer from Democratic Services who stood at the door with a security guard. He told them that they were going to keep out the people who had caused trouble at the previous meetings. or who might cause trouble because previous meetings had been interrupted and they wanted the business of the Council meeting to be completed that evening.

The officer's action seemed particularly targeted at the Counihan Family Campaign but was applied in a blanket way to everyone who had been lobbying.. Three women who tried to get in were asked for ID in order to gain admittance. Carol, a retired TfL worker went all the way home to collect her passport and library card but the officer refused to look at it saying, 'We know you are part of the campaign' without saying which campaign.

I was granted admittance and a woman was also allowed in but only after she had to ask that the officer to ring  Carol Shaw, her local councillor,  to check her credentials.

When we eventually arrived in the public gallery we were the only two people in attendance with 50 empty seats and more on the floor of the council chamber.  After half an hour or so two young women joined us but soon got bored and went home. Ex- Democratic Conservative Councillor Robert Dunwell, who has his moments in the Town Hall, was happily trotting around the Council Chamber.

Clearly this raises issues about democratic accountability if the public are not allowed to attend full meetings of the council.  The 'Summons to attend council meeting' clearly states 'The press and public are welcome to attend this meeting'. How can democracy be seen to be done if the electorate are not allowed to see it in action? Is it legal or moral for the council to decide which members of the public are acceptable?

A further troubling aspects is the question of how the council has identified previous and potential trouble makers?  I have never been a conspiracy theorist but is there a list or photographic record? Does the council believe in guilt by association? If you are opposed to council policy does that make you a 'trouble maker'. Would library campaigners have been asked for their ID?

Interesting Lib Dem Cllr Jack Beck who tweets as @digitalliberal tweeted during the meeting:
Brent Fightback at the Town Hall tonight, very unimaginative literature, looks like a member of the Brent Labour Party wrote it. 
So a Labour Council bars entry to a group of people, some of whom are Labour supporters, who are advocating a policy supported by many on the left of the Labour Party as well as other socialist groups including Green Left,  as well as those supporting a Brent family suffering as a result of the housing crisis.  Brent Fightback is the same campaigning group that Brent Council Muhammed Butt  leader went to speak to earlier this year LINK and stressed that he wanted to have a dialogue with them and return to 'what Labour stands for and why we are here'. Asked how he would organise a fightback against Coalition cuts he said:
Me being here is just a start. I am willing to go anywhere, whether to a warm reception or a hostile one, to have a dialogue.
In the same meeting he said that he had not ruled out a needs based budget.We are entitled to ask, what has happened to that dialogue, but more importantly, what has happened to democracy?

Recently I attended an Extraordinary Meeting of Barnet Council where the Labour group had tabled a motion of 'no confidence' in the Conservative Leader of the council calling for him to be replaced. Feelings were running high but not only was the public gallery full but the council had provided seats in an overflow room with a television link. Officers from the council politely greeted us and showed us to the viewing room. There was some spirited heckling but the Mayor was able to keep things under control and a proper debate took place.

19 Nov 2012

Natalie Bennett addresses Brent Greens

Brent Greens welcomed Green Party Leader, Natalie Bennett to Wembley on 18 November 2012. Natalie was in her element talking about the Green solution to transport - ranging from how to return the railways, currently heavily subsidised by the tax payer, to public ownership to how to bring about a modal shift away from the motor car to walking and cycling. She then broadened out the theme to identify how transport affected every part of our lives and was one of the keys to building a sustainable society, such as breaking the dominance of the supermarket supply chain by a return to local, seasonal food production. We were honoured also to have Waiting for the Banjo, a local band, perform a Celtic folk set.
Natalie Bennett addresses Brent Greens, 18 Nov 2012

Waiting for the Banjo, Mark, Mary and Mike.
Musical Joy

16 Nov 2012

Brent Green Party Submission to Ealing Council

TO: Ealing Planning Dept, 13 November 2012

Further to the consultation letter from Ealing Council regarding the Planning Application Ref. PP/2012/3267 at Channel Gate Road, Park Royal, Brent Green Party submits this OBJECTION:


Brent Green Party is concerned about the negative environmental impact of the major part of the planning application, relating to the pyrolysis plant. We do not have equal objection to the anaerobic digestion part of the plant, since we recognise the potential benefit of utilizing CH4 released by biomass for energy rather than putting it in landfill, where it would be released anyway, contributing to climate change.

However, we cannot support the application taken as a whole and state our OBJECTIONS here:


-         Insufficient modelling of potential air quality impacts and their assessment and foreclosure of the need for additional health impact assessments in line with Environmental Agency stipulations.

-         Insufficient assessment of the need for appropriate mitigation measures in light of potential air quality impacts at the planning application stage in line with EA stipulations.


-         Pyrolysis produces bio-oil and syngas which when combusted for energy, produce vast amounts of CO2, wholly inconsistent with the achievement of EU emission targets.


-         Contamination of London canals from run off pollutants during construction, not sufficiently mitigated by drainage measures.

-         Region is water stressed in terms of supply of mains water and site water demand will exacerbate this, in excess to the rainwater-harvesting techniques designed to reduce onsite mains water demand.

-         During construction, adverse effects on users of playground in Harley road, residential properties and pedestrians in Old Oak Lane Conservation Area, users of the Grand Union Canal and pedestrians walking through Metro Multi Trading Estate.


-         Adverse noise pollution during construction.

-         Medium to low risk impact of dust generated during construction.

-         Potential for ground contamination during construction period.

-         Potential for ground contamination from storage/handling of oils, chemicals & waste materials from the new plant, not met by proposal to place in storage facilities.

For these reasons we strongly object to the proposal in its current form.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Shahrar Ali, Spokesperson for Planning and Environment
Brent Green Party, PO Box 54786, London NW9 1FL

14 Nov 2012

"austerity kills":LETTER TO THE GUARDIAN 13/11/12

The government's response to increased coverage of cyclist fatalities has been to set aside £30m for improving safety at road junctions across the UK (If Wiggins can get hit … Safety campaigners fear effect of Tour de France winner's crash, 9 November). This is far too little – it's even less than the amount the mayor of London has already cut from the capital's annual road safety budget.

We can't stop death and injury on our roads unless local authorities and the government understand the social and economic value of road safety budgets. They not only prevent avoidable tragedies for many families but also reduce NHS and emergency service costs.
London used to have an exceptional record of reducing road casualties. By 2010 there were 685 fewer children a year killed or seriously injured on London's roads than in the late 1990s. As the previous mayor's road safety ambassador for seven years, I'm sure that if we hadn't spent the money we did and made the changes we did, many of those 685 would not be walking around today.
Last year we had a 23% increase in cycling casualties and a significant jump in the number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured. This trend has quickened as the road safety budget has been squeezed down to less than a quarter of what it was. Put simply, austerity kills.
Jenny Jones AM
Green party group leader, London Assembly

10 Nov 2012

Brent Civic Centre Tours: By Appointment Only

Martin Francis and Shahrar Ali: A "Green" White Elephant is Still a White Elephant, outside Brent Civic Centre
Brent Civic Centre opened its doors this weekend to public tours, by appointment only. Brent Greens joined a demonstration outside the Civic Centre, in protest at the gross implausibility of the Council claim that money would be saved through building this new behemoth - that nobody wanted or needed - in a time of fiscal crisis. We have exposed the financial unsustainability of the project before now (history) - the financing of a £100m debt over 25 years, plus interest, at a time when essential public services are being cut, with local ratepayers losing their libraries and families facing eviction in the weeks to come.
Brent Civic Centre £102m over 25 years plus intersest
Despite the requirement to pre-book, I and others were surprised not to be allowed onto a tour, given that there were plenty of no shows. I was asked whether I had "tried to register" or whether "I was with them" (the staff pointing to the demonstration). This obstructive attitude compares rather unfavourably to the more reasonable treatment one would expect of public visits to buildings. I and others were recently admitted on to a tour of the Paddocks war bunker, featuring in the Brent Open House London season, due to no-shows on the day.

6 Nov 2012

Brent CCC community briefing: Depletion of the Arctic ice cap

We are writing to ask you to be one of our “invited listeners” for an important community briefing meeting on 21 November.

The purpose of the meeting is to brief councillors, policy-makers, trade unionists, and community leaders on the seriousness of the situation with the depletion of the Arctic ice cap and its possible consequences for people in Brent. The speakers will be:

·         Phil Thornhill from Campaign against Climate Change, who will review the latest scientific evidence of the depletion of Arctic ice and its possible effect on the world’s weather systems
·         Kirtana Chandrasekaran of Friends of the Earth, who will talk about the vulnerability of the world’s food supply

They will also answer any of your questions and open a discussion on what further action we should be taking in Brent.

As you may know, recent reports show that the mass of Arctic ice is 30% of what it was in 1980 and that there will be no Arctic sea ice in the summer months by 2016. This is likely to have a serious impact on world weather patterns, affecting the price of food internationally and increasing the vulnerability of regions of the world already prone to droughts and floods. Some of these regions will be those in which members of the Brent community have family and friends.

We believe that the seriousness of the situation means that we have to assist Brent Council to develop a community response both in terms of measures we can take locally and by way of raising our concerns with our representatives in Parliament.

The meeting will start at 7.30pm on 21 November at the Pakistan Community Centre, Marley Walk, Station Parade, Willesden Green, NW2 4PU (just behind Willesden Green tube station). We do hope you will find time to come along.

Yours sincerely

Lia Colacicco, Co-ordinator, BrentF riends of the Earth, and member of Brent Climate Change Steering Group
Ken Montague, Secretary, Brent Campaign against Climate Change
Tariq Dar, Chairman, Pakistan Community Centre, Willesden

1 Nov 2012

"Restore Kensal Rise Library," UPDATE

This message is from Jodi Gramigni who started the petition "Restore Kensal Rise Library," Dear Supporters, I felt it was essential to provide an update on the developing situation with All Souls College, Oxford, due to inaccurate information being circulated by Thomas Seaman, Estates Bursar and Fellow of All Souls ( He has said that the College is giving the library campaign the space that was requested in our bid. This is incorrect. In addition, their offer of support is a fraction of the over £1m in proceeds that they expect to receive for the sale of the building, and is short term, leaving the library to secure resources to pay for commercial rents in perpetuity. An unsustainable proposition due to the very limited size of the space we are being offered. Laura Collignon elaborates: “Just so you all know what this "support" means, All Souls College are selling the building to property developers who will turn it all into flats, except for the old children's section which will be demolished and turned into our new library. That is all we are getting. Oh, and it is suggested that we should pay a market rent for the space we get. And if we don't want to run a library on that basis, apparently they will find someone who will, because we have persuaded them of the importance of a library remaining there!!” All Souls are requiring the Friends of Kensal Rise Library to negotiate directly with the developer Andrew Gillick of Platinum Revolver Ltd, whose proposal includes partial demolition of the existing building which would require a change of use from Brent Planning ( If this is the College's idea of support, god help us if they turn against us… More details to follow soon. Kind regards, Jodi twitter: @jodigramigni P.S. on a lighter note, please have a look at to see portraits of the community users of Kensal Rise Library - supporters of the campaign and our historic community building.

Harlesden Town Team call for informed debate on Willesden Junction waste plant

The Harlesden Town Team issued this statement today: A Statement on the Proposed Energy Recovery Centre at Willesden Junction Harlesden Town Team were disappointed to learn about the proposed Energy Recovery Centre at Willesden Junction only after formal consultation by LB Ealing had ended. Although the site is closer to many more Harlesden residents than Ealing ones, Harlesden Town Team were not formally consulted. Brent Council planning officers were notified. At this stage Harlesden Town Team has no view for or against the energy recovery centre. What we seek is an informed debate so that all Harlesden residents who could possibly be affected by the development are informed and their views sought. We expect that this number of households is considerably more than the 1,000 leafleted in the consultation, as the majority of Harlesden (Town)'s 10,000 households are directly down-wind. We recognise the danger of much ill-informed comment that is starting to circulate and we therefore believe that wider explanation and consultation is urgently required. To this end we shall discuss the development proposals at the next Harlesden Town Team meeting on Monday 12th November (Salvation Army Hall, 6.30pm). We expect representative of the developers, Ealing and Brent Council planners and local councillors from East Acton, Kensal Green and Harlesden to attend as well as those Harlesden residents that actually live in Ealing. If, at the end of the meeting, a majority of our members consider it appropriate for the Town Team to take a position, then we shall do so. It is worth noting that, earlier this year, Harlesden Town Team helped facilitate a consultation on changes to Harlesden High Street which covered over 10,000 households and achieved a 10% response rate. Posted by Martin Francis on Wembley Matters

31 Oct 2012

Solidarity action with Eurostrike 14/11/2012

On November 14th there will be general strikes in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Malta. The ETUC [European Trade Union Confederation] is calling for solidarity action throughout Europe.

In London Coalition of Resistance is organising a protest at the European Commission.

Assemble 5pm - 5:30pm
European Commission
32 Smith Square, City of Westminster, SW1P 3EU
Tubes: St. James's Park / Westminister
 for further details contact

18 Oct 2012

Brent Campaign against Climate Change: Open Steering Group Meeting 23rd October

Open Steering Group Meeting

Main agenda item: Climate Emergency and the Arctic Meltdown. Speaker - Phil Thornhill, National Co-ordinator, Campaign against Climate Change
Tuesday 23 October, 7.30pm, Brent Trades and Labour Hall (Apollo Club), 375 High Road, Willesden, NW10 2JR

Dear Friend -

The next meeting of the steering group of Brent Campaign against Climate Change is open to anyone who wants to find out more about the current situation with global warming and our activities locally as a campaign group. Could I invite you to join us on 23rd October and ask you to pass on this e-mail to any of your friends and contacts, or members of your organisation, who might be interested in coming along.

Over the last few years the occurrence of droughts and floods in many parts of the world, including here in Britain, have pushed up food prices and posed even greater dangers for some of the world's poorest people. They suggest that man-made climate change is already something that affects us all, whatever our social background and cultural or religious beliefs. This situation will get worse unless we work together to press the people in power to take the necessary steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels as a matter of urgency. 

Brent Campaign against Climate Change is the local group of the national Campaign against Climate Change. It works to raise public awareness on these issues and lobbies for practical measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our steering group is made up of representatives of different community and faith groups, trade unions and political parties, as well as concerned individuals. We want to increase its representation so that it reflects the whole of the Brent community and is able to operate even more effectively.

If you are able to come along to this meeting, the details are below and in the attached flier, which we hope you will display on notice boards. A map and directions are also attached. If you can't make it this time, please let me know if you'd like to receive further information. If you are member of community organisation, political party, faith group or trade union branch, we would be very happy to send along a speaker to one of your meetings. Please try to get us invited. 

I hope to hear from you, or possibly see you on 23 October.

With best wishes, 

Ken Montague, Secretary: Brent Campaign against Climate Change

7 Oct 2012

URGENT - -help The Ecosocialist APPEAL FROM GREEN LEFT

7 Oct 2012,:URGENT - -help The Ecosocialist APPEAL FROM GREEN LEFT

Dear GL members,

Thank you to everyone who has pledged their support for the production of our first tabloid  THE ECOSOCIALIST planned for distribution on OCT 20TH at the TUC march and rally.

We want our first paper to be attractive and well laid out ! 

We are nearly there (thanks to Doug for all his late nights) - but with more space it will look a lot better.

We need a few more donations of £20 / £10 / £5 so that we can make this tabloid really good looking)

Give us your money - now !  (as they say). We have a lot of work to do and only so many hours left to complete this project !

Please send donations to Doug Rouxel who is acting for Green left as Treasurer/co-ordinator of this project

account name    Douglas Rouxel
sort code             30-96-35
account number  15534368

If you prefer you can make your donations to Green left (please specify clearly that they are intended for THE ECOSOCIALIST planned for distribution on OCT 20TH.)
send a cheque, made to Green Left to: Peter Allen(GL Treasurer) , 8 Slatelands RdGlossopSK13 6LH.
OR payments can be made directly into the GL bank account (details below):
acc name GREEN LEFT Co-operative bank, PO Box 250 , Delf House, Southway, SKELMERSDALE WN8 6WT sort code 089299 acc 65284751

Thank You !

Romayne Phoenix Green Left Co-Convenor
Howard Thorpe     Green Left Co-Convenor
Pete Murry             Green Left Secretary   
Doug Rouxel         Green Left Media Officer
Martin O' Beirne    Green Left Website Editor

PS A full financial report on “The Ecosocialist” will go to the next general meeting.

4 Oct 2012

In Solidarity with SOAS Cleaners

Christian speaking in solidarity with SOAS cleaners, 4 Oct 2012

Solidarity with SOAS Cleaners

Ecuadorian Movement in the UK (website)
A demonstration was held on the steps of SOAS on 4 October 2012, to express solidarity with the cleaners of SOAS and, in particular, with the plight of Lenin, an Ecuadorian who has recently been suspended following alleged failure to conform to work requests. Lenin and his supporters claim that unreasonable demands are being imposed upon him and other SOAS cleaners, in terms of being asked to do things for which they aren't officially contracted and to work extra hours on demand - "basically, they are being overworked", as one insider put it. Lenin faces a tribunal with his employer (SOAS contractor ISS) next week.

Previous post on Bloomsbury Fightback.

30 Sept 2012

Hammersmith NHS demo 6th October and MONDAY 8th OCTOBER - PRESENTING OUR PETITION

An opportunity for ALL opponents of NHS cuts and closures to come together to defend our health services. London Keep Our NHS Public is calling for this to be a London wide protest. For us in NW London, it is a chance before the consultation ends to show our solidarity. We will NOT give in to pressure to choose one A & E department over another or one hospital over another. Yes, we need better services out of hospital. Yes, we need services which will support people so that they don't need to be admitted, but we need our hospitals too. Please join the demo.
MONDAY 8th OCTOBER - PRESENTING OUR PETITION 12.30 pm Outside the Department of Health in Whitehall, then to NHS NW London HQ in Victoria St. BRING BANNERS or COME IN BANDAGES: Don't make a Casualty of our NHS This will be an opportunity to get more publicity for our campaign and to tell NHS NW London that our campaign is not over yet. We will keep on fighting for our health services.

NHS Consultation: meeting on NHS reorganisation in NW London. Harlesden Methodist church hall 29/9/12

Questions and discussion (part 1) Questions and discussion (part 2) Questions and discussion (part 3) Questions and discussion (part 4) Questions and discussion (part 5)

Young Greens Stall at UCL Freshers Week

Clare Phipps and Sarah Marks recruiting in University of London precinct, 28 Sept 2012.

27 Sept 2012

Brent Education Debate

Changes in education are coming thick and fast and it is hard to keep up, let alone work out what they mean for children, parents, teachers, headteachers and governors in our schools.

 There is an urgent need for a discussion about the changes that are taking place. Brent teacher unions, supported by Brent Fightback, have organised a debate open to everyone in Brent who is concerned about the future of our education system, both nationally and locally. Academies and free schools, changes in the curriculum, the crisis in the exam system, increases in the size of primary schools, the shortage of primary school places which will soon extend to secondary schools, the role of school governors, changes in the way schools are supported by the local authority and privatisation are all issues which cry out for debate.

 The debate took place on Thursday 20th September at Copland Community School, Wembley High Road.

Speakers  included
Melissa Benn, a local parent, writer and journalist who recently published 'School Wars - the battle for Britain's Education'

 Jon O'Connor, regional manager of the Cooperative College which supports schools setting up as cooperatives, cooperative federations or cooperative academies

 Mary Arnold, Brent Council's lead member for Children and Families

 Martin Francis, Brent Green Party spokesperson on Children and Families

 Hank Roberts, ATL President and a Brent teacher

 The meeting will be chaired by Gill Wood, local parent and school governor.

 Apologies, the Brent Green Agit Prop Film Unit, (aka P.Murry), was only able to film the latter part of this debate to a gridlock in Willesden


17 Sept 2012

Brent Education Debate - Thursday 20 Sept

Changes in education are coming thick and fast and it is hard to keep up, let alone work out what they mean for children, parents, teachers, headteachers and governors in our schools.
There is an urgent need for a discussion about the changes that are taking place. Brent teacher unions, supported by Brent Fightback, have organised a debate open to everyone in Brent who is concerned about the future of our education system, both nationally and locally.
Academies and free schools, changes in the curriculum, the crisis in the exam system, increases in the size of primary schools, the shortage of primary school places which will soon extend to secondary schools, the role of school governors, changes in the way schools are supported by the local authority and privatisation are all issues which cry out for debate.
The debate will take place on Thursday 20th September at Copland Community School, Wembley High Road, from 7-9pm. (buses 18, 182, 83 stop at the school, 297 get off at Park Lane and then left along High Road,; Wembley Central station Overground and Bakerloo).
Speakers will include
Melissa Benn, a local parent, writer and journalist who recently published 'School Wars - the battle for Britain's Education'

Jon O'Connor, regional manager of the Cooperative College which supports schools setting up as cooperatives, cooperative federations or cooperative academies

Mary Arnold, Brent Council's lead member for Children and Families

Martin Francis, Brent Green Party spokesperson on Children and Families

Hank Roberts, ATL President and a Brent teacher

The meeting will be chaired by Gill Wood, local parent and school governor.

Queens Park Day - 16 Sept 2012

Locally sourced honey

Defend NW London Hospitals: Pictures from Demo 15 Sept 2012

A new speculative industrial development - right next door to the hospital.

Central Middlesex Main entrance - with A & E access.

14 Sept 2012

DEFEND NW LONDON HEALTH SERVICES Save A & E at Central Middlesex Hospital - March and Rally 15 Sept 2012


Save A & E at Central Middlesex Hospital - March and Rally

Saturday 15 September 2012



If you are unable to march, go straight to CMH.


Queens Park Community Sale - Be Kind to Our Planet .. and our Trees

Queens Park Community Sale Notice on Salusbury Road Tree, 13 Sept 2012
Advertisement for Salusbury Road table top sale on 7 October. Unfortunately, the notice for this otherwise excellent initiative is pinned to a tree using drawing pins, which can result in fungal infections to trees (especially when pins get left behind to rust away). If and where there is a case for using trees for postering, string should be used instead. This picture shows old pins and old string, in addition to the offending notice. Website for Queens Park Community Sale.

Brent CCTV Car Illegally Parked on Mortimer Road

Brent CCTV car illegally parked on Mortimer Road, 13 Sept 2012.
Brent Parking enforcement was captured illegally parked on 13 September, on double yellow lines, at the junction of Mortimer Road and Chamberlayne Road. The end does not justify the means. This sets completely the wrong standard for trying to trap the infractions or road violations of other motorists.

2 Sept 2012

245 bus gets militant!

Saw a 245 in Cricklewood today with massive Ealing Council poster on the side calling for people to sign petion against hospital closures (including CMH).Is Ealing doing Brent's job for it,? I think most of the 245 route  in Brent, wonder what Ealing council tax payers think.

19 Jul 2012

ADMISSION TO HOSPITAL via A&E; North West London, July 2012

At about 7.30 pm on Monday 9th July 2012, I was told by a member of the STARRS District Nurses, (based at Central Middlesex Hospital), that based on my blood tests, STARRS and my GP had decided to have me hospitalised by ambulance. I assume that this was because my mobility was very restricted at the time and that this was the quickest way to get me to hospital.

The ambulance arrived at my house in Dollis Hill at about 8pm.  I asked the ambulance crew if I would be going to Central Middlesex Hospital, as this was where I had gone when I had been hospitalised previously. I was told I could not go there as the Accident and Emergency dep’t at CMH closed at 8.30pm. It was therefore decided to take me to Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow.

The ambulance arrived at Northwick Park A&E at about 9pm. I was wheeled into the hospital lying prone on a stretcher accompanied by two ambulance men, the three of us immediately joined a queue of other potential A&E patients on stretchers or wheelchairs, each also accompanied by ambulance crews and sometimes also by friends and/or relatives. As far as I could make out in the queue in front of me consisted of about six or seven patients and others were frequently joining the queue after me.

I don’t recall any of the other patients in the queue shouting out, crying or giving any indication of being in great distress, so I have no idea if there was any procedure for emergencies to go to the front of the queue. If such procedure existed it would have made the wait of the “more routine” patients longer.

The restriction that was causing the queue seemed to be the number of available curtained –off A&E treatment areas available, until one became vacant, patients had to queue. When an earlier a patient was moved out of one of these treatment areas, a patient from the queue could be moved into it and also then be formally transferred from the care of the ambulance crew into that of the A&E dep’t.

I don’t know, but I assume that as well as arriving at Northwick Park A&E by ambulance, potential patients may have been arriving by other means.

By about 9.55pm, I was at the head of the queue, at this stage the member of A&E personnel in charge of handover ‘re-designated’ two Gynaecology rooms as being empty spaces available for A&E admissions.  I was wheeled into one of these rooms by about 9.58pm.

The ambulance crew who had had charge of me until then explained that if a patient was logged as waiting for one hour, this became logged as an “incident”, which apparently meant extra paperwork for both the ambulance crew and the A&E staff.

Within about 15 minutes I was moved from the Gynaecology room to one of the curtained –off A&E treatment areas and the use of the Gynaecology rooms seems to have been a temporary ad-hoc measure to deal with the queues of ambulance patients, but it was taking place at 9pm on a Monday night when there were no adverse conditions or unusual events adding to the number of potential A&E admissions.

After my wait in the queue, I was not fully tested and assessed in A&E and transferred to a ward until about 2am, but I think I was dealt with as promptly as possible by the A&E staff. My concern is how much of the initial wait before I was assessed by A&E was due to Northwick Park A&E having to deal with extra cases such as mine who might otherwise have gone to Central Middlesex Hospital.

It seems that the run down of A&E facilities at CMH, (let alone their total closure), may displace demand onto other facilities which may not have the capacity to deal with them promptly. Further more the reduction or closure of CMH A&E cerates a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ in regard to ambulance admissions, because ambulance patients have to go where they are taken, which may not necessarily be the nearest or best source of treatment.

If an ambulance can’t take a patient to a closed facility does this show a lack of demand for the facility that has been closed?