Nothing new unveiled in Hornsey Hospital plan
YOUR report (Unveiled: Hornsey s new £12.8m hospital, H&H Broadway January 17) was doubly misleading. These were not new plans for the Hornsey Community Hospital; they had been presented by Helen Brown, the director responsible, at an open board meeting o
YOUR report (Unveiled: Hornsey's new £12.8m hospital, H&H Broadway January 17) was doubly misleading. These were not new plans for the Hornsey Community Hospital; they had been presented by Helen Brown, the director responsible, at an open board meeting of the Primary Care Trust last year - and before that.
Your report refers to January 10 as a 'special public meeting'; it was in fact an Overview and Scrutiny Committee of councillors, a committee that gives the public its only democratic influence on the management of local health care services. The item reported had followed other presentations - ones that generated much argument and interest - from delegations of residents wanting to object to the proposed sale of Fortis Green Clinic. The PCT was asked to attend to answer questions.
The Muswell Hill and Highgate Pensioners' Action Group had four members present. They maintained that services at Fortis Green Clinic had been run down over the past six years - and that the clinic was needed with improved services. Other delegations confirmed that the trust had not informed or consulted users; many speakers from the public demanded that the sale be halted - but at least postponed to enable residents to examine the alternative locations for services announced only at the meeting.
The councillors criticised the trust for its failure to consult but decided not to refer the sale to the Secretary of State. Thus our efforts failed to keep this clinic publicly owned for the delivery of health services 'close to home' for future generations, but the PCT did concede that Fortis Green and Muswell Hill residents should be consulted about the location of their clinic services whenever Hornsey Central becomes ready for use.
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We recommend that your readers examine the plans for Hornsey Community Hospital. http://www.haringey.nhs.uk/foi/foi_docs/4823_soc_final.doc The sheer size of the new development is notable (over 100 parking places) considering that the trust argued for selling Fortis Green because it was under-used. How will the PCT fill a building five times its size?
We suspect that third party providers and commercial ventures will help fill the space and help pay the rent. The development is a further step in the patchwork privatisation of our NHS currently being enacted all over the country.
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CELIA BOWER, ESTHER SINGER
Muswell Hill and Highgate Pensioners Action Group