Margaret Pyke Centre to close and services transferred

Women dressed as suffragettes protested outside the Margaret Pyke Centre which will now be closing.

Women dressed as suffragettes protested outside the Margaret Pyke Centre which will now be closing. - Credit: Archant

The fate of Camden’s much-loved Margaret Pyke Centre has been sealed as board members unanimously vote to close down the centre and transfer services to the Mortimer Market centre,

Students with fake baby bumps and dolls protested outside Islington Town Hall.

Students with fake baby bumps and dolls protested outside Islington Town Hall. - Credit: Archant

Central and North West London NHS Trust (CNWL) today voted in support of the decision to reduce the number of sexual health buildings in Camden and Islington, despite a public consultation preferring to keep the buildings open.

The majority of sexual health services will transfer to the Mortimer Market centre , with the rest being housed at the Archway sexual health centre.

A three month consultation resulted in 41 per cent of people voting in favour of consultation option one - keeping the existing sites but reducing the number of appointments.

A close 40 per cent voted for option two which included reducing the number of sites to two and closing the historic sexual health clinic, The Margaret Pyke Centre.

Despite agreeing on option two, the CNWL board have vowed to ensure the “ethos and care” of the centre is transferred to the Mortimer Market centre.

Campaign group Save the Margaret Pyke Centre (Save MPC) said: “We are very pleased to have confirmation from CNWL Trust, who run the Centre, that they are committed to maintaining this world-renowned service by agreeing to our key service requirements.”

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The service requirements include retaining the Margaret Pyke name, ensuring the clinic has at least eight rooms dedicated to contraception and women’s sexual health and a commitment to ensuring that all staff providing sexual and reproductive health services have a genuine interest in women’s sexual health and the appropriate competencies and experience to deliver a comprehensive service.

The Save MPC spokeswoman added: “Current and retired Margaret Pyke staff put their heads together to outline what’s needed to ensure the amazing work of the service continues, regardless of where it’s housed. (Something of a Margaret Pyke tradition, given excellent service has been maintained throughout multiple premises moves over the last five decades.)

“This is wonderful news; we at the Campaign regard it as a testament to what can be achieved when we make our voices heard and when those with the power to protect services listen.”

Dr Simon Edwards, Clinical Director of Sexual Health Services, said, “I’m really pleased we’ve agreed some basic points about future services with the Save MPC campaign; the discussion and consultation has been very worthwhile; the agreement strengthens the future for local, modern, excellent sexual and reproductive health services.”

Mark Maguire, Service Director, said, “This has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do; but if you believe your services are the best you want to keep them, you stand up for them, even when the pressure is intense - so it’s been challenging! I want to thank the staff for being so great during this time and we now face the future with more confidence.”

Claire Murdoch, Chief Executive said, “Our sexual health services are outstanding - truly excellent according to the regulators - but they are under incredible financial pressure, as well as needing to respond to a revolution in how people want their services to be - easy to use, speedy, more done on the phone, more home testing and self-care, with emergency help when needed. At the same time the Margaret Pyke name and, more importantly, the spirit will remain and be built into our model. However that will all mean little if we do not win the tender for these services. This has been a difficult time, especially for the staff who have been terrific, but we have measured up to the challenge; that’s good for services and patient care.”