Have your say on plan to shut down Margaret Pyke Centre

Women dressed as suffragettes protest outside the Margaret Pyke Centre which is threatened with clos

Women dressed as suffragettes protest outside the Margaret Pyke Centre which is threatened with closure as a result of government spending cuts - Credit: Archant

Anger over the possible closure of the Margaret Pyke Centre has prompted a consultation on the future of sexual health services.

Launched last week, the consultation is asking for views on how best to make £6 million worth of cuts to the services over the next two years.

Just two options are being offered – keep all of the sites open while significantly reducing staff, the number of appointments and the opening times, or close the Margaret Pyke Centre, Wicklow Street, King’s Cross and relocate its services to other locations.

The Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL) is recommending the closure of the Margaret Pyke Centre, claiming it will cause the fewest staff redundancies.

Claire Murdoch, chief executive of the trust, said: “We believe our solution – analysed and agonised over – adds up to a future of high quality services for patients. We will not allow the financial challenges we face to derail what is outstanding now and what will be well into the future.”

Rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission, the centre provides free contraception, referrals and advice to about 400 patients a week – including many in Islington.

Staff at the centre have campaigned fiercely against the centre’s possible closure, with one nurse telling the Gazette last year that it would lead to more unwanted pregnancies and a possible rise in sexually transmitted infections.

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Reacting to the consultation document, the Save Margaret Pyke campaign group said: “We are extremely disappointed with the narrow scope of the consultation by CNWL, which presents only two options: one the preferred option of the trust, which is to close the Margaret Pyke Centre, and the other – an option that nobody has suggested – which is to continue as things are, with the consequence of massive job cuts.

“We believe that the limited options presented and the leading questions in the consultation have been formulated in such a way as to ensure their preferred result.”

The public have until March 23 to register their views.

A petition opposing the closure of the centre has already been signed by more than 6,500 people.

The consultation document can be found at cnwl.nhs.uk/have-your-say/consultations/