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Fight is on to save Whittington's A&E services

PUBLISHED: 13:48 01 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:34 07 September 2010

WHATEVER the government believes is the right thing for the future of health care at the Whittington Hospital, the closure of vital acute services such as the accident and emergency unit must be strongly resisted by the people of Highgate, Archway, Crouch

WHATEVER the government believes is the right thing for the future of health care at the Whittington Hospital, the closure of vital acute services such as the accident and emergency unit must be strongly resisted by the people of Highgate, Archway, Crouch End, Muswell Hill and beyond.

This would represent one of the most significant deteriorations of health care ever seen in this part of north London, and in some cases, it could quite literally be a matter of life and death.

The Whittington may be far from perfect, but for people who need emergency treatment, it is usually where they end up. That has much to do with its geographical proximity to the areas already mentioned. And when it comes to the crunch, many, many lives are saved there.

The idea that the provision of essential emergency treatment can be moved to the Royal Free without putting lives at risk is something that could be countenanced only by bureaucrats who believe that, from a financial point of view, it is an acceptable compromise as they face increasing pressure to slash costs.

But from the point of view of delivering the best possible service, the warnings from the professionals of the British Medical Association should suffice to alert us all to the fact that no responsible medical practitioner would be comfortable with the impact of the proposed changes.

And isn't it convenient for the government that these proposals would make their presence felt after next year's General Election? If Labour stays in power, the public outcry which would surely come will merely wash over it, a minor irritation as it embarks on another term of office.

And if Labour is dumped by the electorate, as seems likely, it can sit back and leave someone else to clear up the mess.

Ordinary people must make their voices heard now, and health professionals who know that these proposals are dangerously flawed must follow the lead of the members of the BMA - and stand up and be counted.


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