Thursday, 5 August 2010

Whittington Hospital : The Saga Continues

Whittington Hospital in North London has a troubled recent history.

Under the recent Labour administration, proposals were discussed for either closing or downgrading the hospital, with the A & E and Maternity wards considered most at risk.

 Two campaigns were launched to oppose the proposals ; - said to be run mainly by Labour supporters - and , run by Liberal Democrat Councillors.

When Labour`s Andy Burnham announced that the hospital was reprieved, the difference between the two camps was noticeable - the Labour-related group were jubilant, whereas the Liberal Democrats were more cautious, noting only that the hospital was saved "for now." How right they were !

Soon Labour were out of office and  a Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition took it`s place. Health Minister Andrew Lansley gave assurances the plans for closure/downgrading were to be scrapped.

Now North Central London NHS (NCL NHS) Director Stephen Conroy has announced a "stocktake" is underway to review hospital services in the area. Asked for assurances as to the future of the hospital, he stated that he was moving on and that was a matter for his successor. As no-one knows yet who that will be, campaigners were left in limbo !

Current defenders of the hospital are the Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition ( ) . They feel the existing authorities "are trying to delegate responsibility to GP commissioners who will be forced to make unpopular decisions against extremely difficult constraints." 

The Coalition is keen to stress that it`s concern is for NHS services throughout the NCL NHS area and with that in mind has built links with Enfield`s Save Chase Farm Hospital ( . The SCFH group adopted an unusual approach during a previous campaign when two members were successful in being elected as independent councillors on a Save Chase Farm ticket.

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