We will spend on a future for health centre

YOU published a letter – “Put cash back into health centre” (Viewpoints, Gazette, January 13). This letter requested public acknowledgement regarding the sale money from the Pine Street building and how it would be used for works on Finsbury Health Centre.

I would like to firstly, and most importantly make it very clear, that it is not accurate to say that the sale monies will be used for internal and external “decorations”. The money will be used to carry out a partial refurbishment of Finsbury Health Centre. NHS Islington will use the sale money for all of the works that we will do and this will include the works that are supported by English Heritage and the London Borough of Islington.

The refurbishment works will include increasing the amount of accessible clinical space for patients, improving infection control compliance and address specific repairs suggested by English Heritage.

This money has to be spent by the end of the current financial year as in 2008/09 the Department of Health (DH) capital rules changed, so PCTs were no longer allocated under spends from previous years. As a result any capital funds not spent within the year cannot be carried forward into the next.

The sale proceeds from Pine Street will therefore be lost if not spent before March 31, 2011.

PCTs will not be given capital allocations for 2011/12 but will have to submit business cases to NHS London for approval for all capital schemes of any value that they wish to carry out.

We are working extremely hard to ensure the best future for Finsbury Health Centre and would hope the Islington Gazette and members of the Campaign to Save Finsbury Health Centre will support us in this process. – Helen Pettersen, chief executive, NHS Islington, Goswell Road, EC1.