The Independent London Newspaper

Letters

 

We’ve been here before. Remember Bart’s A&E?

• THE announcement of the possible closure of the A and E department at the Whittington and the rush of politicians proclaiming their opposition to the closure reminds me of the late 1990s when we were faced with the closure of the A and E at Bart’s.
At the time I lived near Bart’s and was involved in the campaign, fighting alongside many Islington residents who wanted to save their local A and E.
So, sadly, I can’t believe (and nor should the people of Islington) the false words of Labour politicians about “fighting to the death to save” the A and E at the Whittington. We have heard it all before.
The then Labour MP for Islington South, and his colleagues, pledged to fight for Bart’s and, if closed by the Tories (as it was), to reopen the A and E when they got into government. Sorry Labour, 12 years plus and we are still waiting.
We are now faced with the closure of the last remaining A and E in the borough, and Labour is making the same shallow promises.
It is underhand for Labour to wipe its hands of responsibility for the mess that NHS London has got itself into. It is facing £5billion worth of savings (or should I say cuts) across the capital, with £500million alone here in north London.
The government could step in if it wished, and put a stop to this at once, but I do not see it doing that.
SANDRA LAING
Kevin Road, N5

• LOCAL people would be forgiven for believing there are proposals to close Whittington Hospital next month. While you extensively quoted local MPs, you neglected to report the response from Health Minister Mike O’Brien, who pointed out, contrary to your headlines, that “there are no formal proposals for north-central London at the moment” and that there is a clear process for any NHS service reconfiguration to ensure full involvement of the local population and staff.
Any proposals that did eventually come forward – after a process of internal discussion, including researching professional and public views – would have to be clinically justifiable and a full public consultation would be legally required. Council scrutiny committees could refer their concerns, if they still had them, to the Secretary of State and the independent reconfiguration panel. None of these facts was mentioned.
You also failed to report last week that the health gap between Islington and the rest of England is getting worse, despite extra funding and a plethora of local hospitals.
These pages should be asking how health services should be changing to meet the challenges of rising need and the future funding squeeze. The allegation that the Whittington is under threat of closure is based on rumour and speculation. It may sell papers, but inaccurate reporting and scaremongering are likely to cause great and unnecessary stress to local people. 
JOE FARRINGTON-DOUGLAS
Wellington Square, N1

• THERE seems to be a collective case of amnesia in the Tribune’s reporting of the threatened closure of Whittington Hospital’s A and E department. All I see are puff pieces for nearby Labour MPs.
The government controls the NHS. Labour has been the government for almost 13 years. In that time it could have put in place any number of measures to prevent this kind of deliberate depletion of vital services.
You’ve even had the temerity to quote Frank Dobson and his worry for other local hospitals should this ridiculous proposal be implemented. Surely you’ve not forgotten that Frank was Health Secretary some years ago. He could have implemented measures to prevent this happening but didn’t.
ARTHUR GRAVES
Tufnell Park Road, N19

• JEREMY Corbyn is to be congratulated on the robust approach he has taken in defence of the A and E department at Whittington Hospital.
He is quite right to point out how vital an amenity it is to the people of Islington. Not only did it treat 80,000 patients last year, it is notable that the Whittington has the second lowest mortality rate in the whole of Britain.
Too often removal of the A and E has proved to be a precursor for further “rationalisation” of medical facilities; the gradual degradation of the Whittington from a first-rate general hospital to a hotchpotch of walk-in centres and polyclinics is completely unacceptable.
It is clear that this plan has been hatched at the highest levels and been long in gestation. This will be a long and hard campaign and one in which we will be proud to play a part.
ADRIAN BERRILL-COX
Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate, Islington North
ANTONIA COX
Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate, Islington South and Finsbury

• THE Labour government has allowed NHS trusts to run up large debts. It has shown it cares more about targets than patient welfare.
We can’t trust Labour on this issue – look at what happened with Bart’s.
It claimed it wanted to reopen the A and E department there but it’s been 12 years and local people are still waiting and still losing out on this vital local service.
CLLR RHODRI JAMIESON-BALL
Lib Dem parliamentary spokesman, Islington North

• ACCIDENTS and emergencies happen 24 hours a day and we need a 24-hour casualty unit. It takes far too long to get to the Royal Free in Hampstead compared to a straight run up the A1 to the Whittington. Plus Islington’s population is growing. It’s madness to think of closing our local A and E now.
I’m delighted that councillors are united in wanting to save our hospital. But ministers have let Islington down, by passing the buck and saying the closure plan is a “challenge for the local NHS to explain”.
A few years ago I witnessed a car accident at Archway. The young father who was hit survived because of prompt treatment at Whittington A and E. Like so many Islington families, I’ve been helped by the Whittington. They treated a micro-tumour and quite possibly saved my life.
I urge Tribune readers to sign the petition at www.savethewhittington.com
BRIDGET FOX
Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate Islington South and Finsbury

Comments

Labour have spent and wasted

Labour have spent and wasted millions of tax payers money on database systems that don't work and hiring pen pushers and now they want to close A/E departs because they have got the country into huge debt. Can't believe Labour attacks the Tories for threat of cutting front line services when they are doing exactly the same and sacrificing the lives of possibly hundreds of working classes by doing so. Shameful.

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