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Whittington future is safe for now, says health boss

PUBLISHED: 14:05 15 September 2010 | UPDATED: 11:11 14 October 2010

THE Whittington Hospital's future is safe – at least in the short-term. An NHS boss has confirmed that a series of options that could have seen the hospital's accident and emergency department axed have been dropped.

THE Whittington Hospital's future is safe - at least in the short-term.

An NHS boss has confirmed that a series of options that could have seen the hospital's accident and emergency department axed have been dropped.

The Defend The Whittington Hospital Campaign, which organised a thousands-strong march in February, is delighted. Chairwoman Shirley Franklin said: "I am ecstatic. They are bowing to public pressure - because the people of Islington showed them what they thought."

Earlier this year, the North Central London NHS drew up seven options for the hospitals in Islington, Camden, Haringey, Enfield and Barnet - a number of which envisaged closing or downgrading The Whittington's A&E.

Health bosses claimed they needed to standardise healthcare across north London - and save £560million a year from across the sector by 2016-17.

When the coalition Government came to power in May, Conservative health secretary Andrew Lansley, called a halt to the review.

But the North Central London NHS summoned in consultants to see if any of the work they had done could be salvaged. It has now concluded that it cannot - and have announced that the seven options have been dropped.

Instead, GPs, consultants and local authorities will be asked to come up with new money-saving ideas - and they will be looking at changing services, such as cancer care and mental health, rather than downgrading entire hospitals.

Stephen Conroy, director of communications at the North Central London NHS, which is publishing its latest financial position next week, said: "We have stopped the review. The seven scenarios won't go forward and we won't be looking at changing organisations. But we have got to see more patients more efficiently."

The Defend The Whittington Hospital Coalition is holding a public meeting at Archway Methodist Hall, Archway Close, Archway, at 7.30pm tonight (Thursday).


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