Search

Whittington chief defends sell-off plans: ‘Secrecy? No - Nobody asked.’

08:15 31 January 2013

Dr Yi Mien Koh, chief executive of Whittington Health

Dr Yi Mien Koh, chief executive of Whittington Health

Archant

The head of the Whittington Hospital has rebutted criticism that the board’s shock decision to sell off almost half the hospital site has been veiled in secrecy.

In an interview with the Ham&High, chief executive Dr Yi Mien Koh said: “If people had asked, ‘Will you be selling off this land?’ I would have said ‘Yes’. But nobody asked.”

Last week the board signed off plans to sell land on the north of the site but the hospital has been accused of failing to inform the public and local MPs.

Last month the board held a meeting which was attended by Islington South MP Emily Thornberry and Tottenham MP David Lammy. Despite discussing the hospital’s future, the question of the sale “did not come up”.

Dr Koh, chief executive of Whittington Heath – the trust responsible for running the hospital – said it was “a very open organisation”, pointing to the availability of board meeting agendas online.

She said the decision was part of an NHS-wide plan “to provide care in a different way”.

Dr Koh, who was appointed in March 2011, said: “When you call it ward closure, I call it shifting care into the community.

“In any hospital today, the vast majority of people on the wards are old people and the patients and their carers tell us that acute, busy, highly intensive wards are not the right place for old people.”

She added: “When they need intensive, acute care, this is the right place… but when they want to recover, we know that home is the best place.”

Dr Koh said the Whittington can become “more efficient by using technology better and providing more care in the community” and will not need as many beds “which is why some of the ward closures are happening”.

She added: “If we don’t have beds, then we won’t need the staff to staff them.”

Included in the Estates Strategy is the potential loss of more than 300 Whittington employees and births at the hospital will be capped at 4,000 a year.

Dr Koh pointed to the building of a maternity ward at North Middlesex Hospital in Edmonton and the expansion of maternity services at University College London Hospital in Euston.

She said: “We would love to grow our maternity services but at the moment we’re constrained by space.”

Dr Koh insisted there are “absolutely no plans to close” the Whittington’s Accident and Emergency department, which was last threatened with closure three years ago.

“If anything we’re improving the environment of the A&E with the Estates Strategy,” she said.

“It proposes that we spend £3million in terms of developing an ambulatory (outpatient) care centre, so that we can improve care for those who require it urgently.”

The board has already signed off the five-year Estates Strategy but the next phase requires approval from the Department of Health and local stakeholders, such as councils and town planners.

The buildings will not be sold before December 2015 and the anticipated £17million raised will go towards services at the Whittington, Dr Koh pledged.

She said that the decision to sell the land would have gone ahead even if the hospital was not bidding to become a Foundation Trust.

Related articles

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

17:41
Tributes have been paid to actor Burt Kwouk

Tributes have been paid to renowned Hampstead actor Burt Kwouk, famous for his role in the Pink Panther films.

Tom Franklin, former chair of the Camden Green Party, pictured with Sian Berry and other supporters outside court

Eight protesters cleared of any wrongdoing for their part in an arms fair protest will not face a retrial after a judge refused an appeal lodged by the Crown.

16:18
The Ratclliffe family when Gabriella was one week old

The husband of a West Hampstead mum who has been held for 50 days in Iran without charge has hit out at the government for not doing enough to secure her release.

Heather Brett, with her mother, Nora

A daughter is urging hospitals to prioritise dementia care after her 90-year-old mother had a “traumatic” experience at the Whittington.

Yesterday, 17:50
Left to Right: Artist Dom Pattinson, Zebra One gallery owner Gabrielle du Plooy, actor  Phil Daniels and Blur's Dave Rowntree with artwork for auction at the Star Boot Sale

A fan has bid £6,500 on an outfit worn by former Spice girl Melanie Chisholm, which was among celebrity cast-offs being sold off at the Star Boot Sale on Sunday.

Yesterday, 14:44
Barnet and Camden's re-elected Assembly Member Andrew Dismore said the inquiry currently being undertaken by Barnet Councill into the polling day blunder is looking

Barnet and Camden Assembly Member Andrew Dismore has claimed the inquiry into the mayoral polling day debacle in Barnet is looking “increasingly like a whitewash”.

Saturday, May 21, 2016
Mayor of Haringey Councillor Ali Ozbek. Photo: Polly Hancock

Haringey appointed its first mayor of Kurdish Alevi descent at a ceremony boosted with overseas family and the Turkish press on Monday.

Friday, May 20, 2016
Pets are leaping forward for initial photoshoots. Picture: Daniel Emani

An aspiring philanthropist is launching a Crouch End pets calendar to fundraise for animals abandoned in countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal hit by the eurozone crisis.

PROMOTED CONTENT

There are no rules when it comes to buying studio pottery beyond choosing what you love

With The Great Pottery Throwdown captivating viewers across the nation, pottery courses at capacity, and hipsters snapping up vintage studio pieces to display their succulents in and post on Instagram, studio pottery and ceramics are definitely having a moment.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

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

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe