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MP slams NHS chief over calls for end to Chase Farm fight

 

Sir Bruce Keogh, the Medical Director for the NHS responsible for standards and performance, was quoted in a national newspaper at the weekend calling for politicians to "step above their local interests and think of the other interests of the NHS". Sir Bruce, a former heart surgeon, said those opposing hospital changes were "perpetuating mediocrity", as failing to embrace change would inhibit excellence.

The calls drew an immediate reaction from Enfield North MP Nick de Bois, who has led the Hands Off Our Hospital campaign since 2004 against cuts to services at Chase Farm Hospital. In an open letter to Sir Bruce, Mr de Bois said the NHS chief was "wrong", arguing that "driving change is as much about winning the hearts and minds of the public you serve".

The letter is fiercely critical of the process leading to the downgrade of A&E and maternity services at Chase Farm, citing the "flawed consultation process" which often consisted of "carefully selected individuals meeting in central London hotels far removed from the locality the hospital served". Mr de Bois said the NHS failed to be transparent and consistent in their arguments over the years and this has led to "mistrust and lack of confidence in the administrative leadership of NHS London, Enfield PCT and the acute hospital board of Chase Farm, Barnet and North Middlesex."

Earlier this month the business case for the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Clinical Strategy - which contains plans to downgrade Chase Farm - was given approval by the Treasury. 

Enfield Council appointed a team of independent monitors in September 2011 to assess whether replacement services are being installed before downgrade goes ahead. At Enfield Council's Health Scrutiny panel meeting on 10th January, panel Chairman Cllr Alev Cazimoglu stated this report was due "within a few weeks".

 

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