Council prepares to take evidence in September

Thursday September 10 Islington Council’s Health and Wellbeing Review Committee will start to look at the arguments for and against keeping Finsbury Health Centre open. At this meeting NHS Islington (PCT) will make a presentation to ‘set the scene’ for what will be several public meetings with a range of experts throughout September.

It will be interesting to see what kind of ‘scene setting’ the PCT does. Even after the pasting they took on the issue at the 9 July ‘Working Group’, recent correspondence suggests that they are still taking the line that the question of selling Finsbury Health Centre has been settled, all that remains is to discuss how and to whom.

More than that, services are being moved now, in direct opposition to the elected representatives on the Council who blocked services relocation until a final resolution is reached. We continue to get complaints from patients about physiotherapy appointments going to Hornsey St. Sources inside Finsbury Health Centre have told us that far from there simply being one member of staff missing due to maternity leave, the service has been cut from five days a week  down to two. Patients are missing many more of their appointments at Hornsey St, and one actually abandoned going to physio altogether because it was too difficult for her to get there. The PCT’s Public Health Director Sarah Price also confirmed recently that ‘all’ admin staff is due to vacate Finsbury Health Centre in October.

All this shows that the promise made by the PCT and Islington Council Chief Exec John Foster that there was ‘still scope for local discussion’ was a cynical wheeze to avoid a public enquiry by the Department of Health. Fortunately the Health and Wellbeing Review Committee, with new Chair Martin Klute, has stepped in to make sure that the facts finally get a thorough and public airing.

No doubt the PCT will continue to pretend nothing’s happened since January. This autumn is, however, the best chance we may have to make our case for keeping Finsbury Health Centre open.

What you can do:
1) Come to the H & WB Review Committee Thursday 10 September (7.30, Islington Town Hall);
2) Write to your local councillor (if you live in Islington or Camden), MPs Emily Thornberry, Jeremy Corbyn, Mark Field, and Mike O’Brien, Minister of State for Health Services, PCT Chair Paula Kahn – and anyone else you think might help;
3) Sign our petition if you hadn’t before;
(The preamble will soon be updated with what we’ve learned over the past year, and this time we won’t try to guess who the Secretary of State for Health will be!)
4) Let us know if you’re interested in helping deliver leaflets in September – we need to get the message out there!

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