MARK EASTON, the chief executive of the Chase Farm and Barnet NHS Trust, quit yesterday after it was made public that the trust intended to sack hundreds of administrative workers.
The trust statement made clear that he was pushed out in a crisis move, with no replacement ready.
It said: ‘As the business case for capital works at Barnet and Chase Farm hospitals has been produced and the strategic outline case for the transaction with the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust has been submitted, Mark Easton has agreed that it is an appropriate time for him to step down from his role as Chief Executive of Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust.
‘Alternative arrangements are being made…
‘Baroness Wall, Chair of Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust and the Trust Board are in discussion with the Strategic Health Authority, NHS London, and the NHS Trust Development Authority in making the alternative arrangements.
‘Mary Joseet, Director of Planning, Performance and Partnership will act as CEO until the alternative arrangements are made.’
The proposed mass sackings are to prepare the closure of the Chase Farm 24-hour Accident and Emergency Department and the consultant-led Maternity and Paediatric departments.
Staff at the trust are furious at the proposals.
The trust’s immediate proposals are to cut staff numbers from 588.3 whole time equivalent to 380 whole time equivalent.
The trust is proposing: ‘Centralising and automating reception, and follow-up bookings.’
Among the main proposals summarised are plans for ‘automated clinic self-check-in’ by patients, and a ‘fully automated transcription service’.
The management stresses that ‘the medical records function will remain a library only service’. It adds: ‘Reception and ward support arrangements will change significantly.’
The trust has called mass meetings for staff at Chase Farm next Wednesday and for Barnet Hospital on the following day.
So far, the trade unions involved have made no statement about the sackings.
Yesterday on day 222 of the daily Chase Farm picket, support for the campaign for occupying Chase Farm Hospital to prevent its closure was growing.
Local resident Ibrahim Polat told News Line: ‘If they close Chase Farm people will have to wait much longer for appointments.
‘I don’t want to go to Barnet Hospital, it is just too far to travel and Chase Farm is my local hospital.
‘The great thing about the NHS is that it is free when you need it and they always listen to patients. In other countries where they have a private system, this isn’t the case.
‘More hospitals should be built, not closing ones that already are here. We have to defend Chase Farm and any hospital facing closure, and this includes occupying to keep them open, because if we don’t people will die.’
Cath John said: ‘Why not occupy – hospitals belong to the people not the government.’
Lisa Browne, visiting her daughter in Maternity, said: ‘The Maternity Department is very important, we must keep it open.’
Out-patient Richard Alexander said: ‘I don’t agree with any hospital closing and we should fight to keep them all open.’