Health centre closure protest

RESIDENTS are being quizzed on the proposed closure of the Finsbury Health Centre.

RESIDENTS are being quizzed on the proposed closure of the Finsbury Health Centre.

Islington Primary Care Trust wants to shut down the centre in Pine Street. Podiatry and community dental services would be relocated to Hornsey Street, Holloway - over two miles away - along with adult physiotherapy, podiatry and sickle cell/ thalassaemia services. A large new health centre in Hornsey Street would be created.

The two GP practices currently at Finsbury Health Centre would be relocated to a brand new GP surgery next door. Consultation began on Monday until December 21.

The Grade One listed centre was designed by architect Berthold Lubetkin and opened in 1938.

Furious residents organised a protest in front of the Islington Primary Care Trust offices in Goswell Road, Finsbury.

More than 1,000 people have signed petitions online and on paper for Health Secretary Alan Simpson against the closure.

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Helen Cagnoni, whose family has lived in the area for four generations, said, "This goes against calls in the government White Paper for 'the provision of more services closer to people's homes' since it will force residents to take buses or minicabs for services they can now reach by walking."

Ian Martin, architect and a writer for The Architects' Journal, said: "Finsbury Health Centre is owned by the NHS.

"That's us. It's ours. And 'we' are putting it up for sale. The phrase 'not fit for purpose' will no doubt be prominent in the estate management report. This building symbolises the way we were. Quaint as it seems, it's what Labour politicians stood for in the 20th century. It's perfectly possible that the health centre could be sensitively restored as, I don't know, a boutique spa. Fine. As long as it stays in the public sector!