The North East London Council of Action is holding a picket of Chase Farm Hospital today as news emerged that huge cuts are being planned throughout the north London area.
Enfield Save Chase Farm councillor Kate Wilkinson told News Line: ‘We are very concerned that discussions are taking place regarding the future of all hospitals in the Barnet, Enfield, Haringey, Islington and Camden areas.
‘A gap in funding has been identified of £500m by the year 2014.
‘For this reason, discussions are taking place as to which of two or three hospitals covering this huge area will remain as major acute hospitals.
‘This will mean cuts on an unprecedented scale and we must be ready to respond.’
Chase Farm, Barnet and Whittington hospitals are top of the list for closure.
Bill Rogers, North East London Council of Action secretary, told News Line: ‘This news shows that we must get ready to occupy Chase Farm Hospital. We will not allow it to close.’
London has been divided into six acute commissioning sectors by the Strategic Health Authority for London, called NHS London.
NHS London is guided by ‘A Framework for Action’ the plan outlined by Lord Darzi in 2007, in which all healthcare must be provided in the following entities: home, polyclinic, elective centre, local hospital, major acute hospital, specialist hospital.
NHS London is pushing a process called ‘Provider Transformation’.
NHS London produced a document in June, based on an analysis by McKinsey, which was leaked to Health Service Journal in September. In it they estimate that around £5bn must be cut from London’s budget over the next five years.
The estimate for North Central sector is that they must make cuts of around £500m over the next five years.
The North Central Acute Commissioning Sector contains Camden and Islington and Barnet, Enfield and Haringey (BEH).
The hospitals in this area include UCLH, Whittington, Royal Free, North Mid, Chase Farm and Barnet.
Every sector has to carry out ‘reconfiguration’.
The basic assumptions are: that there will be huge funding cuts; that hospital work must be transferred on a massive scale into the ‘community’ meaning polyclinics, elective centres and urgent care centres.
All of these are ripe for tendering to the private sector.
North Central Sector has been told, that it may be that only two hospitals in the entire sector would become major acute hospitals.
Therefore the rest, would end up as some form of Darzi Local Hospital, or run down completely.
Discussions are taking place to merge the Royal Free and Whittington hospitals, meaning the closure of the Whittington.