Following a meeting with Lynne Featherstone MP and Cllr David Winskill, the Whittington Hospital has offered assurances that no services will be lost during their reorganization until equal or better replacement services are in place.
The Whittington Board, who recently announced controversial plans to sell off hospital buildings, have now agreed to run a full public engagement programme, and agreed to listen to views about the future use of the surplus estate.
The assurances come in response to a petition led by Lynne Featherstone MP and the Haringey Liberal Democrats, signed by 2000 local people.
At the meeting, the Liberal Democrat MP and members of the Board discussed the plans in detail. They include commitments to:
• spend £10 million on improving the maternity unit over 5 years;
• invest £2.9 million in a same day treatment centre, to support A&E;
• relocate Physiotherapy and some occupational therapy services to new buildings.
The Board also gave very strong assurances that there will be no loss to the Hospital’s A&E service, and that the number of births will be maintained at current levels to meet expected needs.
The plans are being implemented to support the Hospital’s foundation trust bid, as the Board seek to secure a future as a full service hospital and integrated care provider.
As part of their public involvement programme, the Board have agreed to attend a public meeting in early March, organised by the MP for Hornsey and Wood Green.
Commenting, Lynne Featherstone MP said:
“It is such a shame that the Board did not engage properly with their staff, local politicians and local residents. They should have done this from day one.
“I have met with the Board, and in response they have given assurances that no services will be lost until equal or better replacement services are in place.
“Though very late, these assurances are welcome. The Board’s task is now to convince the public through an extensive engagement programme. I am holding a public meeting, which will take place at the beginning of March, so that they can explain their plans directly to everyone.”
Cllr David Winskill added:
“It is impossible to overstate the importance of the Whittington to our communities. Having listened carefully to their proposals I am confident that the changes will support improved health facilities and better outcomes for patients.
“Lynne and I stressed how crucial it is to involve patients, carers and the wider community in these decisions and we will be looking to the Whittington to deliver on their promise to do so.”
Dr Yi Mien Koh, chief executive of Whittington Health, said:
“The future of the Whittington Hospital as part of the Trust lies in meeting the health needs of the local community within the Whittington’s resources.
“As an NHS organisation dedicated to serving our local communities, we want to share our ambitions for Whittington Health widely, listen to local opinion and reflect on their views. This is why we welcome the chance to participate in a public meeting with Lynne Featherstone MP.
“Our strategy will enable the Whittington Hospital to thrive as we continue to provide high-quality patient services safely, efficiently and effectively as close to people’s homes as possible.”
Joe Liddane, chairman of Whittington Health’s Board, said:
“I, like many of the board, live locally. We all have families and have a vested interest in the ongoing success of the Whittington Hospital. I can assure everyone that we are working very hard to do what is best for its future.
“Foundation Trust status will help secure the Whittington Hospital’s future. By using our resources more effectively we can release £17m to invest in services including £10m in maternity and new facilities to help premature babies have a better chance of life.
“A further £2.9m will be spent on an ‘ambulatory care’ centre next door to A&E, due to open in October. It will treat more people on the same day without the inconvenience of an overnight hospital stay.”
Mr Liddane added: “Local GPs back us and tell us that our plans will benefit the community.”