Search

Whittington beds and sell-off plan axed as figures emerge showing hundreds of patients are discharged in the middle of the night

PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 July 2013 | UPDATED: 10:10 11 July 2013

Greg Battle, medical director for integrated care, Chief executive Yi Mien Koh, and Martin Kuper, executive medical director (L-R), announced dramatic changes this morning

Greg Battle, medical director for integrated care, Chief executive Yi Mien Koh, and Martin Kuper, executive medical director (L-R), announced dramatic changes this morning

Archant

Whittington chiefs this week scrapped plans to axe scores of beds amid emerging figures which show hundreds of patients have been discharged in the middle of the night – including pensioners aged up to 99 – during times of high demand.

The dramatic U-turn over cuts to about 70 beds, 570 staff and the sell-off of £17 million-worth of buildings came on Tuesday – ending fears of a dramatic reduction in services which saw thousands march the streets in protest in March.

On Tuesday hospital bosses announced the “major” shift after a three-month listening exercise.

There are now “no plans to close beds” while no “significant reduction” will be made to staff numbers.

The overhaul will also see the Grade II-listed Jenner building and newly built Whittington Education Centre – originally earmarked for sell-off – retained.

However, the derelict Waterlow building – unused for ten years – looks set to be offered to developers along with the 70-room nurses’ accommodation block.

Campaigners reacted with caution to the sell-off U-turn this week, raising concerns about plans to move care off-site and into patients’ homes by using online video sites such as Skype and other “tele-health” tools.

Shirley Franklin, leader of the Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition, said: “I am happy that we have pushed them into re-thinking their plans.

“We also welcome the fact that we have stopped the sell-off of some of the family silver.

“We are also happy about the decision not to reduce the number of beds, but sceptical about the claim there will be no ‘significant’ reductions.

“But the clinical approach driving this – about health care being moved into the community and out of hospital – is most worrying.

“I think it is dreadful they are going that way, to expect people to use things such as Skype to manage patient aftercare. We are concerned it is going to go too far that way.

“We want community care to be improved but not at the expense of sending people home early or people driven out to be sent home.”

Islington MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Emily Thornberry welcomed the strategy shift as “good progress” and “movement in the right direction”, but called for caution going forward.

The new five-year plan also means the number of births will no longer be capped at 4,000.

Figures obtained by the Gazette suggest at least 922 patients – nearly six a week – were discharged between the anti-social hours of 11pm and 6am over the last three years – about a third of which were pensioners.

0 comments

Latest Islington News Stories

Yesterday, 18:59

Chapel Market traders were today fearful for the future of the Islington institution following the announced closure of its century-old pie and mash shop Manze’s.

Yesterday, 18:06

Transport police want to speak to this man over a sexual assault at Finsbury Park station during the morning rush hour.

Yesterday, 17:43

Arsenal ranks as one of the Premier League’s worst clubs for season ticket affordability, according to research.

Yesterday, 16:17

A racing driver with kids at Laycock Primary School is using his experience on the road to pass safety tips to students.

Yesterday, 10:38

The town hall has taken a step towards reopening an investigation into the child abuse scandal that still blackens Islington’s name – thanks to evidence uncovered by the Gazette.

Wed, 20:42

Islington South and Finsbury MP Emily Thornberry tonight joined the hundreds of people bemoaning the closure of M. Manze, saying: “It’s part of what Islington represents.”

Wed, 16:58

Chapel Market institution M. Manze is to shut after 106 years in Islington.

Wed, 14:58

Furious five-a-side players have served Islington Council with a legal notice over the decision to replace their pitches at the Sobell Leisure Centre with a trampoline park.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now