Whittington Hospital will keep ‘full A&E’ says new chief exec

The new chief of the Whittington Hospital has pledged a full A&E department will remain at the hospital over the next five years.

Chief executive Dr Yi Mien Koh spoke at a public meeting at the Highgate Society on Thursday.

She responded to questions about whether a 24-hour Accident & Emergency department was part of the hospital’s future.

She said: “When I first started at the Whittington Hospital all the staff asked exactly that question. They didn’t ask it to my face, but you could see all the subtle ways of asking.”

She continued: “However much care you provide in the community, there will be some times when people need acute care and acute care is best provided in A&E.

“As part of our foundation trust application we will be a full district hospital with a full A&E.”

The Highgate Society has been actively involved in campaigns to protect the A&E department at the hospital in Magdala Avenue, Highgate, after NHS bosses threatened to close it down in 2009.

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The hospital is undergoing work to become a foundation trust by 2014, meaning it will operate more like a business but remain “firmly part of the NHS”.

If it wins foundation trust status, the hospital will be accountable to the local community rather than government and gain more freedom in deciding how to spend funds to address patient needs locally.

The trust will be governed by a committee of local people called the council of governors, and patients, the public, staff and local organisations can all apply to become members.

It will work alongside the board of directors, who retain responsibility for day-to-day running of the hospital.

To take part in the consultation of foundation trust plans, visit www.whittington.nhs.uk/FTquestionnaire