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Hundreds, set to be thousands, set to fight Whittington battle

PUBLISHED: 15:19 18 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:38 07 September 2010

NO-ONE in their right mind would speak in favour of closing the Whittington Hospital s emergency department. Thus spoke Shirley Franklin, the newly-elected joint chairwoman of the broadly-based campaign to save the hospital s A&E services, and thus preven

NO-ONE in their right mind would speak in favour of closing the Whittington Hospital's emergency department. Thus spoke Shirley Franklin, the newly-elected joint chairwoman of the broadly-based campaign to save the hospital's A&E services, and thus prevent its downgrading to what the bureaucrats describe as 'local hospital' status.

People who are familiar with the role the Whittington plays in the provision of services in this part of north London will readily agree with her assessment, especially when confronted with the worrying alternative of the busy hospital's vital emergency services being transferred to the Royal Free - which may or may not be able to cope with the extra influx of people in need of urgent treatment.

But of course there will be many who will speak up in favour of a dramatic change. Some of them will be managers in the employ of the NHS who may feel that their prospects for advancement are inextricably linked to the degree of enthusiasm they demonstrate for the proposed changes, despite any misgivings they may have. As such, they are fatally compromised and cannot be listened to with any degree of confidence.

There may be others in more neutral zones who passionately believe that people will benefit from a shake-up which includes the closure of the Whittington's A&E department, but we have yet to hear much from them.

The people who are making their voices heard loudly and clearly are those many hundreds, soon to be thousands, who have united under an apolitical banner to fight proposals they believe would put lives at risk and threaten the future viability of Haringey's only remaining hospital.

This threat to the hospital's status is all the more lamentable considering the huge sums that have been spent on the Whittington in recent years. This was money wisely spent by those who sanctioned it only if the Whittington is to continue to be much more than 'a local hospital'.


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