As controversial plans for the ‘rationalisation’ of vital maternity and children’s Accident & Emergency services in the North London area come before the Council’s key Overview & Scrutiny Committee today, Lib Dem Health spokesperson Cllr Neil Williams is raising concerns on how the changes may affect waiting lists and journey times for patients to local hospitals such as the Whittington and North Middlesex.

The current NHS plans involve concentrating children’s and maternity services at fewer sites in the five boroughs in the North London area, instead of the present spread of services across six north London hospitals. Cllr Williams says that children’s A & E services at certain sites could therefore close, and full reassurances must be given before any ‘rationalisation’ plan takes effect.

Lib Dem Health Spokesperson Cllr Neil Williams (Highgate) comments:

“I will be asking the health authority to explain how any rationalisation plan will affect patients. Parents may have to travel further to take their kids to A & E, and I want to know whether this will be as safe in an emergency.”

Lib Dem London Assembly Health spokeswoman Lynne Featherstone adds:

“Journey times are an issue, but it also concerns me how quickly will children be seen when they get to the enlarged services? If waiting times are increased because not enough extra doctors, nurses and beds are put in place in the centralised units, will children be put at risk? These are questions which must be answered before the Health Service pushes ahead with these plans for North London. I also want to know specifically how they will impact on the two local hospitals, the North Mid and the Whittington.”