Whittington Hospital: Board remain ‘totally committed’ to controversial sell-off after protest march

The Whittington Hospital is still “totally committed” to the main thrust of its cost-cutting strategy after 5,000 people took to the streets for a protest march on Saturday (March 16).

Whittington Health chairman Joe Liddane believes the hospital must continue with plans to reduce the amount it spends on staff and beds by caring for more patients at home.

Sticking with the “old hospital model” of “rows of beds”, as patient numbers increase and treatments become more expensive, would be like being “rabbits in headlights”, he warned.

But Mr Liddane also said the hospital would re-evaluate the details of its Estates Strategy, which currently proposes cutting 570 staff and 60 beds and selling off £17million of land to pay for upgrades such as a revamped maternity unit.

He said: “We are not going to change the direction of integrated care in the community because the alternative is not viable.

“Sitting there like rabbits in headlights while we try to deal with more and more complex treatments won’t work.

“I am still totally committed to the strategy. The thrust of the strategy is right.

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“But some of the detail we need to examine again. The next three months will be an opportunity to evolve changes.”

Whittington Health will then apply for foundation trust status – which it must achieve by April 2014 or be taken over.