What demotion to local hospital would mean for Whittington

Congratulations to the Ham&High for backing the campaign to save the Whittington s accident and emergency department. Let s hope it inspires every resident and organisation to publicly declare their support for this life-saving hospital and prevent its de

Congratulations to the Ham&High for backing the campaign to save the Whittington's accident and emergency department. Let's hope it inspires every resident and organisation to publicly declare their support for this life-saving hospital and prevent its demotion to local hospital status.

Sadly the people of Haringey are better placed than most to know what demotion to a local hospital means. You only have to look at what is left of our one remaining hospital - St. Ann's in Tottenham.

In 1973 this was a general hospital with 586 beds. These days those beds are down to a handful. Since its demotion, and despite the best efforts of staff, it has been increasingly underfunded and demoralised. Tragically to most of the UK its very name conjures up the chaotically managed paediatric department implicated in the death of Baby P.

In the 1980s there were seven working hospitals in Haringey. Counting St. Ann's, we have lost Prince of Wales Hospital; Wood Green and Southgate Hospital; Coppets Wood Hospital; Southwood Hospital; Hornsey Central Hospital, and St. Luke's Hospital.


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One by one they have been closed and sold off by the very administration that now declares - having lavished huge salaries on their own bureaucrats -that the public pot is running at empty. (Last year the Chief Executive Officer of Haringey PCT received �190,000 - about the same as the Prime Minister. Its Finance Director received �164,000).

In their proposals to close the Whittington's Accident & Emergency department, health leaders need to appreciate that, unlike other London boroughs, Haringey residents have now been left with no general hospital, and are utterly dependent on the Whittington in an emergency.

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To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: ''To lose one hospital may be regarded as a misfortune... to lose both seems like carelessness.'' But seven! Surely even Mr. Wilde himself would have been lost for words to describe the management of hospital care for the people of Haringey which now proposes to leave us without an accident and emergency hospital in the next borough too.

Sue Hessel

Haslemere Road, N8

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