THE Chief Executive of Enfield, Barnet and Haringey Clinical Strategy Project Board, Ms Johnson, has made it clear the Board intends to press ahead with closing Chase Farm Hospital Accident and Emergency Department, as well as consultant-led maternity and paediatric services.
Despite an official ‘consultation process’, Johnson made it clear the Board will not consider maintaining full hospital services at Chase Farm, or indeed re-invest in the hospital – indicating the whole hospital faces closure.
She said: ‘We have to be clear, no change at Chase Farm is not an option.’
Suggesting it did not matter if people have to travel to Barnet or North Middlesex hospitals in an emergency, she added: ‘Ambulance staff are now highly trained.
‘You can be treated as soon as you are scooped up.
‘It is less important now for ambulance crews to get people to hospital as quickly.’
Johnson claimed: ‘Even if you do not have blue light services at Chase Farm, emergencies would still be managed.
‘We would not, in any case, leave Chase Farm without any emergency room at all.’
On cuts to maternity services, she made it clear that ‘for those women needing consultant support for Caesareans and so forth, services would not be at Chase Farm’.
The Primary Care and Hospital Trusts in Enfield, Barnet and Haringey are combining to try to ‘sell’ the cuts.
A six-page glossy ‘newsletter’ is being circulated to every house in Enfield on their behalf by Enfield Primary Care Trust.
This seeks to convince people that ‘the changes are needed’.
It promotes walk-in centres; ‘emergency care practitioners’ providing advice and treatment ‘at the scene or at the patient’s home’; and diagnostic tests at pharmacists, walk-in centres and ‘local diagnostic centres’.
Chase Farm users have seen that following the closure of Edgware Hospital’s A&E in the 1990s, patients now have to travel ten miles to Barnet Hospital.
A free Enfield to Barnet bus service has been scrapped.
The Project Board newsletter says: ‘We have arranged for more operations to be carried out at the Edgware Hospital by consultants from the Royal Free Hospital (Hampstead) so that patients do not have to travel so far.’
Enfield, Save Chase Farm councillor Kate Wilkinson told News Line yesterday: ‘It’s appalling.
‘Sally Johnson is trying to railroad the closure through.
‘She is not elected – who does she represent?
‘Nobody else agrees with her.
‘We are meeting tomorrow to rally public support to save our A&E and our hospital.’