Whittington A&E: 4 out of 7 scenarios end 24/7 service

Full credit to Rachel Tyndall (Chair of the North London Central Review Panel) for sending me the NCL Strategy Plan for our local health services. I had heard that these had been submitted to NHS London and asked for a copy – and it was given to me virtually immediately. I have circulated the document for information.

The content is of concern. First let me say – this is a long, technical document – in which the arguments are laid out for the configuration of health services across five boroughs and between five hospitals: Barnet, Royal Free, North Mids, UCLH and the Whittington. Ms Tyndall has said that a more accessible version for public consumption will be provided in due course.

In the appendix, are laid out, seven ‘scenarios’. This is where the fight to Save the Whittington A&E will come – if these are the ‘options’ that come for public consultation next autumn.

The seven ‘scenarios’  demonstrate different configurations between the five hospitals as to what services will be provided from each hospital. It is about a total provision – obviously – not just A&E. Suffice to say that four out of the seven ‘scenarios’ show an end to 24/7 A&E at the Whittington. Three show retention of 24/7 A&E.

Interestingly two of the ‘scenarios’ show a reduction to 16 hours A&E – however – from the minutes of the Board Meeting of the Council of Governors of the Whittington it is quite clear that the the 16 hour A&E is not a real option. The actual wording from the minutes of the meeting of the Council of Governors of the Whittington reads (and I quote directly):

Very importantly NCL and the Whittington have ruled out an option where the Whittington has an A&E with reduced opening time eg 16hours per day. This leaves options where either the full 24 hour A&E is retained or there is no A&E at all. The Whittington might then have an urgent care centre.

So – I don’t know why NCL have included two options showing a 16 hour A&E as clearly that has already been ruled out. This makes me wonder if options have been put in that are not really and truly under consideration but are there to make two of the options look better than they are – as they seem to offer some A&E rather than none. I will seek clarification on this seemingly conflicting evidence.

The greater problem for all of us fighting to save the Whittington A&E – is that as long as there are any ‘scenarios’ that don’t retain 24 hour A&E – we are in jeopardy. So – we need the public consultation next autumn to simply ask those who use the Whittington whether we want to retain the 24 A&E service or whether we would prefer the alternative range of provision at the polyclinic, GP extra hours, urgent care centre etc favoured by NCL and the Trusts.

Anything else opens the way to closure of A&E at the Whittington.

At this point – it is a battle to make sure whatever options finally come forward for consultation- that if local people want to retain a 24 hour A&E at the Whittington – it is retained!

0 thoughts on “Whittington A&E: 4 out of 7 scenarios end 24/7 service

  1. Could I get a copy of the report? I’m told that all 7 options close Chase Farm and one of Barnet or North Mid. out here in Enfield.

    Paul DS

  2. First guess? Those options were left in because the civil servant who prepared the document had neither the authority to leave them out, nor had received specific instructions that these options had already been discarded. When in doubt, any civil servant’s reaction is “longer reports and more forms”. The civil service does not reward initiative.

  3. Dear Lynne
    I want to add my comment towards saving 24 hrs/7 A & E at the Whittington.

    It is the most easily accessible hospital for people on 134, 43 bus routes- eg Muswell HIll, Finchley- as well as south towards Islington and Camden Town.
    The journey to the Royal Free is lengthy ( 2 buses) and tricky.
    The Whittington has recently been updated and service there is straightforward.
    May I suggest you get a Save A & E at the Whittington Petition Form designed and circulated to local GP surgeries and pharmacies.
    My local pharmacy ( on Muswell Hill Broadway), said they would be glad to have a Petition form for people to sign.
    That would give substance ot your activity on our behalf.

  4. Dear Lynne

    The Report can be downloaded at the Defend the Whitington Hospital Coalition Site. It’s here…


    There’s a lot of good stuff from all quarters available through this Coalition Site:


    Most people in Camden and Islington are mad about this plan.

    I would urge the LD team to link up fully. The fight to save the Whittington A&E from closure is part of a broader issue for the whole area. There coalition is planning a march later this month. Why not join in?



  5. Hi Tony

    Thanks – yes I know it is on the site – it was me who sent out the copies to interested parties when I got the original from North London Central. We are linked up – as far as I am aware – and I hope to attend the meeting on Monday.

  6. The North Central London strategy plan mentions an number of different “types” of hospital such as “major acute” and “medical and emergency surgical”. Can anyone answer two questions:

    1. Is there a clear definition somewhere of what these are and how they compare? I’ve Googled and didn’t manage to find one.

    2. Which types of hospitals will accept blue-light ambulances?

    Paul D Smith.

  7. Lynn,

    I’m pretty sure you’re linked up! We’re working on a list of folks and organisations who have put their names to the DWHC which will hopefully be up on the site soon(ish). Thanks for distributing the report. I’ll pop a mention on the dwhc site.

    Dave Plummer,
    Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition

    In a personal capacity:

    It’s good to see so much activity from the main three parties locally. The Conservatives seem to be a tad quiet though, which, as with so many things, doesn’t bode well for a potential change of government. Could they be concerned that joining the fight would irk their buddies in private health care?

  8. Paul – am not sure there is a definitive definition – as ‘acute’ is being used for anything seemingly from the superhospitals (which will deal with trauma and stroke) to all the A&Es. Am working my way through report at the moment – which may or may not be definitive in terms of classification. I don’t think the terminology is particularly helpful anyway – they need to be using different language to describe their thinking. Trying to use old terminology probably just muddies the water.

  9. i am a good friend but a bad enemy-politically.taking down the protest stuff shows what a gutless self serving opportunist u are-tough?dont make me laugh/youre in a very bad spot with a 2k majority/as for the all the rest youre no better than cllr david abrahams.Gertrude Falk was a true freedom fighter and went down fighting/youll bring yourself down by your own black heart and your transparent machinations…psBRENDA WILLIAMS COCURS