Shocking news this week that NHS managers are considering downgrading Islington’s Whittington Hospital, closing its Accident & Emergency department.
Changing the Whittington to a ‘local’ hospital would mean 24 hour emergency surgery would instead be handled by ‘a wider clinical network’.
Some of us remember the same story played out with Barts. We must not let it happen again. Our local Liberal Democrats are taking a stand against the plans.
If Whittington A&E closes, patients will be directed to the Royal Free in Hampstead instead, as the two hospitals are already considering merging into one. Anyone who has tried to drive from Islington to Hampstead will know it’s a nightmare.
From Islington homes to the Whittington, it’s a straight run up the Holloway Road; but routes to the Royal Free mean taking residential streets through Kentish Town, or navigating Chetwynd Road – neither recommended in an emergency.
The sorts of emergencies that need urgent surgery – like injuries from road accidents or assaults – often happen outside ‘office hours’. That’s why 24 hour cover is essential.
And of course, Islington’s population is growing, with thousands of new homes already around the Arsenal development alone.
It’s madness to close our local A&E. So much for the NHS being safe in Labour’s hands.