Concerns grow over future of Whittington’s A&E unit

16:32 05 December 2012

The Whittington Hospital

The Whittington Hospital


Politicians are demanding assurances over the future of The Whittington Hospital’s A&E and maternity departments after its chairman admitted the trust was facing “significant financial challenges”.

Cllr Bernice Vanier, cabinet member for health at Haringey Council, has written a strongly-worded letter to Whittington chairman Joe Liddane asking for “assurances over the future provision of services at The Whittington”.

The Labour councillor wrote: “It is crucial that both the A&E and maternity departments continue as highly-regarded and much-valued local services.”

The government wants all NHS trusts to achieve self-governing “foundation trust” status by April 2014.

But it has now emerged that Whittington Health – the trust responsible for The Whittington Hospital in Magdala Avenue, Highgate and community services in Islington and Haringey – has decided to postpone its application for foundation trust status by three months.

The application was due to be submitted at the beginning of next year.

This was revealed in an email from Mr Liddane to staff and stakeholders, in which he wrote: “We are working in a difficult financial climate and have to ensure we have robust plans in place to demonstrate we are a financially sound organisation.”

Whittington Health needs to find £13.1million in savings throughout this financial year but, as of October, the trust was running behind by around £800,000.

Although Mr Liddane added that the postponement should have no significant impact on the “overall path” to foundation trust status, the letter has raised concerns that Whittington Health may find it difficult to meet the deadline.

Cllr Vanier is worried that if Whittington Health misses the deadline, it could have to “team up” with an existing foundation trust – which could jeopardise the Whittington’s own services, such as its A&E.

Cllr Vanier said: “My fear is that if they team up with someone else, it wouldn’t be the status quo, which is what I want. I am looking for reassurances that things won’t change.”

In 2010, The Whittington Hospital fought off plans that could have seen its A&E and maternity units closed.

Whittington Health chief executive Yi Mien Koh admitted to the Ham&High that if “Whittington Health’s foundation trust application was unsuccessful as a stand-alone organisation, an alternative route to foundation trust status would be required”. But Whittington Health has categorically denied that it is considering a merger with another hospital, insisting that it is on course to meet the April 2014 deadline.

Latest News Stories

North London coach Greg Mackett coaching cricket in Rwanda

A North London cricket coach has flown to Rwanda to help fight the HIV and AIDS epidemic.

Police attended as a group of travellers arrived at the Liddell Road site. Picture by local resident, 'Jon'

A group of travellers has moved into a council-owned site in West Hampstead, prompting a short-lived standoff with the police.

Yesterday, 14:24
Neelu Berry, who was cleared of all charges, arriving at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court yesterday

A woman has been cleared of having “vexed” a priest and disrupting a Sunday service.

Yesterday, 12:42
Actor Jim Carter joins the

Actor Jim Carter, who plays Carson in Downton Abbey, joined protestors in West Hampstead in their bid to prevent a pair of six and seven storey tower blocks being built on their doorstep.

Yesterday, 12:34
Natalia Czekaj died after being stabbed more than 20 times by James Richardson

The loved ones of a barmaid who was stabbed more than 20 times during a frenzied attack say they have been left “disgusted” by the British justice system after a judge said her killer should only spend four years in jail because he is an alcoholic.

Yesterday, 08:00
Alex Lyons with her children Oscar, five, and Benjy, three.

 Picture: Nigel Sutton

A loophole allowing families to get their children into the most popular primary schools despite living miles outside catchment areas is set to be closed by Haringey Council following complaints from parents and carers.

Wed, 13:46
Camden Borough Commander CS Penny Banham. Picture: Polly Hancock

Camden’s new top cop has criticised proposals put forward by Hampstead residents to fund their own police officers – saying it would “not set a good precedent” for the rest of London.

Wed, 11:18
Athlone House, taken in 2011. Picture: Michael Hammerson

The owners of historic Athlone House near Hampstead Heath are to take their bid to demolish the mansion to the High Court.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


You'll be stocked up on toiletries  for a while!

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more.

You could be splashing the cash at Topshop!

Just imagine what you could do with £1,000 to spend at Topshop.

Digital Edition

Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder