WITHDRAW CHASE FARM CLOSURE – Enfield Council legal challenge

The front of a very determined and enthusiastic march in Enfield in June 2009 to keep Chase Farm Hospital open
The front of a very determined and enthusiastic march in Enfield in June 2009 to keep Chase Farm Hospital open

Enfield Council has condemned health secretary Andrew Lansley’s authorisation of the closure of Chase Farm Hospital A&E, Maternity and Paediatrics departments.

It has also declared its willingness to seek a judicial review, if Lansley does not withdraw the authorisation

Enfield Council Leader, Cllr Doug Taylor, said: ‘I believe Andrew Lansley’s decision to authorise the downgrading of Chase Farm Hospital is dangerously flawed. It flies in the face of what our residents tell us they want.

‘He is not only ignoring the views of our residents, but is also risking their health and well-being as Enfield also does not have the primary care services it needs.

‘Despite the accepted need for better primary care there is no sign that poor provision is being seriously tackled.

‘The health service in Enfield is underfunded. Based on levels of deprivation, we estimate there is a £70 million shortfall when this borough is compared with its most similar borough – Ealing.

‘The Secretary of State must take full responsibility for this blinkered decision.

‘We have written to Andrew Lansley and various NHS bodies setting out our willingness to seek a judicial review of this decision if our requirements are not met.

‘However, the power remains in his hands. Unfortunately, if he fails to see sense it will be the people of Enfield, not him, who suffer.

‘Enfield’s population is predicted to increase by 40,000 over the next 20 years and birth rates are predicted to increase by 8.3 per cent in the coming years.

‘The NHS needs to fund healthcare in this borough properly to meet the needs of a growing population.’

The North East London Council of Action has called a demonstration through Enfield on December 10th to oppose the closure.

The Council of Action has already decided to occupy the hospital to stop its closure.

• Plans to temporarily close Stafford Hospital’s Accident and Emergency unit at night have been approved.

Trust managers met on Thursday to discuss the future of emergency services at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

The trust has approved a three-month closure of Stafford Hospital A&E from 22.00 until 08.00, starting on December 1st. Patients will have to seek night-time help at hospitals in Wolverhampton, Walsall, Stoke-on-Trent and Burton.

Stafford Borough Council leader, Cllr Mike Heenan, said it was ‘an unfortunate’ decision which affects the 300,000 people the hospital served, and he is planning to head a delegation to London to demand the return of a full-time A&E department for Stafford Hospital.