Our Response to The Department of Health’s announcement on Shaping a Healthier Future and Charing Cross Hospital


Department for Health announcement on Shaping a Healthier Future and Charing Cross Hospital: Healthwatch Central West London Response

Healthwatch Central West London welcomes the announcement from the secretary of state for health and social care that the Department for Health is withdrawing its support for Shaping a Healthier Future programme (SaHF) in favour of the NHS Long Term Plan[1].

This decision brings a period of uncertainty around the future of Charing Cross Hospital to a close. It allows Healthwatch Central West London to effectively engage with local service users to make recommendations for local health and social services that are truly patient-led, following our independent 2018 report: Healthwatch Central West London Charing Cross Hospital: Experiences of Today, Questions for Tomorrow.

In last year’s report, we gathered patients’ views and experiences of Charing Cross hospital in order for key decision makers to consider their future actions. Responding to the SaHF objective of making Charing Cross a “local hospital”, we found widespread confusion among service users as to what a “local hospital”[2] was. Local people and others who used the hospital were concerned about its future and wanted opportunities to be involved in decision making.

Healthwatch Central West London is already supporting the prioritisation of the NHS Long Term Plan with its What Would You Do? Survey, which consults local service users on where they believe the projected £20 billion per year budget should be implemented across NHS services. We are hosting discussion groups throughout the three boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster in April and May, with one health and social care session and one specialist service session for each borough (see end of press release).

Christine Vigars, Chair of Healthwatch Central West London:

“The decision to take Shaping a Healthier Future off the table will come as a relief to many concerned about the future of health provision across North West London. There is now a fresh opportunity for local people to get involved in influencing what healthcare will be like for their area through local engagement with the NHS Long Term Plan.

“If you want to help shape the future of NHS services in your local area, please take a few minutes to complete our survey. We also welcome local residents to come along to one of our Long Term Plan Discussion Groups and join the conversation there.”


Upcoming Long Term Plan Discussion Groups in Central West London

Hammersmith & Fulham

Irish Cultural Centre, Mezzanine Room, 5 Black’s Road, Hammersmith, W6 9DT

  • Health & Social Care Discussion: 17th April
  • Mental Health Focus Discussion: 8th May

Kensington & Chelsea

St Mary Abbotts Centre, Vicarage Gate, London, W8 4HN

  • Families with Young Children Focus Discussion: 29th April
  • Health & Social Care Discussion: 30th April


  • Health & Social Care Discussion:  9th May at Abbey Centre, 34 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BU
  • Young People’s (Mental) Health Discussion:  10th May at Greenhouse Sports, 35 Cosway Street, London NW1 5NS

The discussion groups provide an opportunity to make your voice heard. Each session will last three to four hours, with lunch and other refreshments provided.

[1] Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Hancock said: “Shaping a Healthier Future is no longer supported by the Department of Health and Social Care, by NHS Improvement, or NHS England.”


[2] Definition of “Local hospital”:

“A type of hospital that provides all the most common things people need hospitals for, such as less severe injuries and less severe urgent care, nonlife threatening illnesses, care for most long-term conditions such as diabetes and asthma, and diagnostic services. It basically provides the kinds of services that most people going to hospital in NW London currently go there for.”

(Shaping a Healthier Future, 2012)