Main event of the day was a public meeting organised by Save Hornsey Hospital Campaign titled ‘Save Local Health Services under Threat’ – which they most certainly are.
I was chairing the meeting and there were a number of speakers, including a really impressive doctor Jacky Davis who told it how it is. She laid out quite clearly the scenarios which are leading to the privatisation of the NHS and demonstrated the harmful effect that so called ‘patient choice’ has had in letting the private sector cherry pick – whilst the NHS (our NHS) is left with less funds and all the difficult cases.
We also had Maria Duggan – a local health expert and local resident – who spoke passionately about the death of services for older people in the west of Haringey. We have very high numbers of older people in the wards in the west of the borough – more than in the east – and yet no council facilities grace the west.
The long-promised all singing all dancing replacement facility for older people that was meant to be delivered in exchange for stopping the campaign to save Hornsey Central Hospital has never materialised.
In fact, the only bit of the proposals to supply beds for older people on the site has collapsed – a mix between Haringey Council withdrawing their sponsorship of that bit and the Primary Care Trust (PCT) taking so long and changing tack so many times that the Council gave up trying to work with them.
The Lib Dems have been campaigning for ‘Action Now’ on Hornsey Central Hospital after the six years of broken promises. Our fight is to make sure that health services are finally delivered – and that the development is about what is needed and wanted locally.
Shirley Murgraff – a long-standing community campaigner – tried to get across the urgency and extent of what was happening in the NHS and to get people signed up to the National Campaign to Keep the NHS. Richard Stein laid out the legal possibilities of challenging what is happening.
Sue Secher, Sue Hessel and Janet Shapiro all gave rousing speeches and more people are needed to sign up to the campaign. There are a number of fronts to be fought on – from pressurising Haringey Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee to making sure everyone local to Fortis Green clinic is aware that they can now put in their two pennies worth on its proposed closure.
There was a representative from the PCT there who tried to say that they were consulting. But as the ‘discussion’ (she was careful to make this distinction) will only be advertised through the newspaper or on lampposts – so there will be another job to do to make sure that people really know what is going on.
The bid to the Government for £7million towards the cost of the new proposed health facility on the Hornsey Central Hospital site will soon be decided. Together with £3.5 million from a LIFT project and the sale of two clinics and some land – this delivers the £14 million funding for the new facility. Of course – the problems are around how much will be private and what will be additional rather than shuffling deckchairs.
The Liberal Democrats have a 5-point plan for Hornsey Central if the bid comes in – which is why I have supported the bid. My pragmatic stance is: let’s get the £7 million and then fight to get what local people want out of it. To get the money we have to jump through some of the Government’s hoops – however much we might disagree with them.
The five points are:
1. More GPs and clinic sessions provided – not just the existing GPs and clinics we already have reshuffled and centralised. There needs to be a real dialogue between the PCT and local GPs to ensure what is provided is wanted by the practices. It is essential that coverage of GPs and GP practices across the area remains and that there is a net gain.
2. Real engagement and consultation with patients, residents, voluntary organisations and health workers over the development and relocation of services. As the promise was originally to replace the services for older people – their needs must be addressed and therefore full engagement with older residents is a priority.
3. Improved public transport to Hornsey Hospital, to ensure it is accessible – particularly for older people and parents with young children. The PCT needs to work with Transport for London to get existing bus routes extended to reach the site and the W2 route reinstated as a minimum.
4. Protect our community pharmacies by working with existing pharmacists and carrying out an impact assessment before opening a new pharmacy at the Hospital.
5. Ensure that the proceeds of any land or property sale go back into site.
This is not an exhaustive list and there are lots of pitfalls and dangers – but at least if we can fight for net gain and proper, and I mean proper, engagement – then just perhaps we can squeeze something out of the current disaster.
Anyway – top marks to the Save Hornsey Central Hospital campaigners who had worked so hard to get this meeting together. It can be very hard work to get people informed and out of their houses – but the hall was packed and the passions ran really high.