London

North Middlesex hospital 'at risk' due to uncertainty

A north London hospital could be at risk because no decision has been made over the future of another one.

The medical director of North Middlesex Hospital said its new facilities may not be viable until decisions about Chase Farm hospital have been made.

Last month campaigners were given extra time to try and save Chase Farm hospital's A&E and maternity units.

The three new units at North Middlesex hospital were built on the basis that Chase Farm's units would be closing.

North Middlesex Hospital, which sees about 400 patients a week, built a new A&E wing last year and is halfway through building a new maternity and children's wing.

Running costs

Medical director Stanley Okolo said the extra time given to try and save Chase Farm's units could have a serious impact on his hospital, because without the extra money it would receive for treating those extra patients, the future of the hospital could be at stake.

Mr Okolo said: "There is the possibility that the viability of this hospital will be threatened in terms of the facilities that we have and cannot use, which have running costs because this is capacity that we have already built in."

He says the original plans were based on what was best for patients and delays were interfering with better patient care.

The previous government had agreed to shut the A&E and maternity units at Chase Farm and transfer much of the work to North Middlesex hospital.

But last month Health Secretary Andrew Lansley gave campaigners the extra two weeks to try and come up with new plans to try and rescue the threatened units.

They are due to hand over their dossier by 19 April.

Councillor Doug Taylor, Labour Leader of Enfield Council, said: "The Secretary of State makes the decision at the end of the day.

"As a council all we can do is reflect back to him what local people are telling us. That's what we want to do, we want to say we've talked to local people, and this is what they are saying."

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