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North Mid hospital chiefs set for Chase Farm downgrade
Wednesday, 11 September 2013
In good shape: North Middlesex University Hospital
HEALTH chiefs at North Middlesex University Hospital have agreed that the trust is ready to take on additional patients when the emergency and maternity departments close at Chase Farm Hospital in November.
In a significant step towards the downgrade of the hospital, in The Ridgeway, Enfield, at an extraordinary meeting of the board yesterday members agreed that it was safe for the trust to go ahead with the implementation of the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Clinical Strategy.
The £115million strategy will see North Mid, in Sterling Way, Edmonton, take on a significant additional burden following the downgrade of Chase Farm as patients will be sent there, or to Barnet Hospital.
But campaigners raised concerns about the hospital’s professed readiness as board papers revealed that with two months to go, the trust is yet to recruit 43 midwives and 29 consultants to take up the slack and that building work has not yet been completed.
It was also revealed that the trust is recruiting 50 nurses from Spain, while fewer than 20 staff are expected to move over to North Mid from Chase Farm.
Kieran McGregor, of the Save Chase Farm campaign, said: “We still feel strongly that there are real risks associated with the clinical strategy, particularly with the busy winter months around the corner.
“The decision to proceed in November is rushed. They clearly will not have all the staff in place. Implementation should be delayed until the spring at the earliest.”
The trust said the strategy would allow for increased consultant availability at the hospital and that vacancies would be filled over the next six to eight weeks.
A spokesman said: “The changes proposed to the workforce will meet London standards for level of staff within each clinical speciality. There will be more specialist nurses and doctors, more consultants and more cover at weekends and evenings.”
It was announced yesterday that North Mid has been awarded £3.8m by the Department of Health to deal with increased pressures on emergency services during the winter months.
A final decision on the clinical strategy will be made on September 25 by the Enfield, Barnet and Haringey clinical commissioning groups at a meeting at Underhill Stadium, in Barnet Lane, High Barnet, starting at 9am.
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Sir Ray Tindle
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