Search

Concerns grow over future of Whittington’s A&E unit

16:45 05 December 2012

The Whittington Hospital

The Whittington Hospital

Archant

Politicians are demanding assurances over the future of the Whittington Hospital’s A&E and maternity departments after its chairman admitted the trust was facing “significant financial challenges”.

Labour councillor Bernice Vanier has written a strongly-worded letter to Whittington chairman Joe Liddane asking for “assurances over the future provision of services” at the Whittington, in Magdala Avenue, Archway.

Cllr Vanier wrote: “It is crucial that both the A&E and maternity departments continue as highly-regarded and much-valued local services.”

The government wants all NHS trusts to achieve self-governing “foundation trust” status by April 2014. But it has now emerged that Whittington Health – the trust responsible for the Whittington Hospital and community services in Islington and Haringey – has decided to postpone its application for foundation trust status, which was due to go in at the beginning of 2013, by another three months.

This was revealed in an email from Mr Liddane to staff and stakeholders, in which he wrote: “We are working in a difficult financial climate and have to ensure we have robust plans in place to demonstrate we are a financially sound organisation.”

Whittington Health needs to find £13.1million in savings throughout this financial year but, as of October, it was running behind, though only by around £800,000.

Although Mr Liddane added that “the postponement should have no significant impact on our overall path to foundation trust status”, and that “the delay is not a reflection of our progress to date”, the letter has raised concerns that Whittington Health may find it difficult to meet the deadline.

And Cllr Vanier is worried that if it misses the deadline, it could have to “team up” with an existing foundation trust – which could jeopardise the Whittington’s own services, such as its A&E.

Both Homerton University Hospital, Hackney and University College London Hospitals, Euston, are already foundation trusts.

Cllr Vanier, cabinet member for health at Haringey Council, said: “My fear is that if they team up with someone else, it wouldn’t be the status quo, which is what I want. I am looking for reassurances that things won’t change.”

In her letter to Mr Liddane, she added: “It would be helpful to know the date at which you envisage the whole application being approved and whether any further delay beyond three months could put successful transition by the April 2014 date at risk.

“With so many A&E units now set for closure across London, this would clearly raise questions about the future of local A&E provision at the Whittington.”

There are already plans to close a number of A&E departments across London, such as at Chase Farm Hospital, in Enfield.

In 2010, The Whittington itself fought off plans that could have seen its own A&E and maternity units closed.

Whittington Health chief executive Yi Mien Koh admitted to the Gazette that if “Whittington Health’s foundation trust application is unsuccessful as a stand-alone organisation, an alternative route to foundation trust status will be required”.

But Whittington Health also categorically denied that it is considering a merger with any other hospital, insisting that it is on course to meet the April 2014 deadline.

Dr Koh said: “The trust is only working on a stand-alone foundation trust application. Whittington Health as a stand-alone foundation trust is committed to continuing to provide maternity and A&E services.”

0 comments

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 09:00
Prince Andrew talking at Pitch@Palace

Tech City is the third-largest technology hub in the world, and it’s right on our doorstep. Each week, we bring you news from the thriving area around Old Street roundabout. This week, Victoria Ibitoye talks to Tim El-Sheikh, the founder of the bio-tech start-up Scicasts, who pitched to Prince Andrew at Pitch@Palace

Saturday, February 6, 2016
Rising Star: Little Simz, real name Simbi Ajikawo

Islington rapper Simbi Ajikawo, more commonly known as Little Simz, speaks to the Gazette after becoming the first independent rap artist to feature in the Forbes “30 Under 30” list.

Saturday, February 6, 2016
Priscilla 'Sapphira' Silcock, of Blackstock Road, Highbury, is leading a world record attempt for the biggest ever burlesque dance. She is pictured centre with Joy Flatt, left, and Justine Lamond, right

An ambitious dancer and singer from Highbury is organising a 300-strong burlesque spectacular a week today – so she can attract the attention of Sir Richard Branson.

Friday, February 5, 2016
Labour's mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan visited Islington Bunhill Energy Centre, annoucing the creation of 'Energy for Londoners', a not-for-profit company that will take a lead on clean and green energy across the city.

Mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan today outlined how he would address youth violence and the housing crisis in Islington.

Friday, February 5, 2016
Caledonian Park Clock Tower, Cafe and Toilets Project - 2016 Artist's Impression

Designs have been finalised for a controversial visitor centre at the foot of the Caledonian Park clock tower – despite fierce local opposition to the plans.

Friday, February 5, 2016
Lucy Padfield, energy services manager at Islington Council, speaks to Labour mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan outside Bunhill Energy Centre

London mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan today visited Islington as he pledged to become the city’s “greenest ever mayor”.

Friday, February 5, 2016
From left, Maddy Morgan and Rhiannon Faith. Photo: Roxanna Ross

Choreographer Rhiannon Faith is chatting happily on her mobile to me about her experimental performance piece.

Friday, February 5, 2016
(Picture: Getty)

Maintenance workers on London Underground have announced a wave of strikes lasting until June in response to safety changes that they say “will lead to someone being killed”.

Most read news

Competitions

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Surface Pro 4

Technology is ever evolving. We are constantly being shown new technology that is innovative, revolutionary and designed to make life easier for us all. Gone are the days of dial up modems and computers so large you needed half a room to store it. We are in the age of smooth, small and sleek. Companies are all trying their best to create technology that is easy to transport and guaranteed to be user friendly.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe