PCT to ‘note’ Council’s report Thursday 27 May

It took a while for the dust to settle after the election, but we can now report that NHS Islington (PCT) will be ‘noting’ the Health and Wellbeing Committee’s exhaustive report on Finsbury Health Centre at their Executive Board meeting this coming Thursday, 27 May at 9.30am. This will include a presentation of the report by the chair of HWB, Cllr. Martin Klute. As Executive member for Health, Cllr. Janet Burgess now has a non-voting seat on the Board. She replaces Cllr. Ursula Woolley, who is also friendly towards Finsbury Health Centre. Hopefully this means there will be a decision taken at the board’s next meeting 22 July.

SaveFHC will be rallying outside the PCT headquarters at 338 Goswell Rd EC1 from 8.30am to urge the PCT to consider the Council’s evidence and do the sensible thing.

The Islington Tribune had a good quote in the article from Louis Hellman last Friday who gave us permission to use his cartoon in our previous post.

New Governments all round
Locally Islington followed its tradition of bucking the national trend – Labour dramatically increased its majorities for both parliamentary seats and won control of the Council. Nationally the party is out of government, which gives us Andrew Lansley as the new Secretary of State for Health. Whatever else may be said of him, he moved swiftly to fulfil his election promise to stop impending hospital closures in London, including Whittington A&E, by announcing last Wednesday that he’s scrapping the Darzi plan “Healthcare for London”. Where this puts the other visions NHS bureaucrats have been having over the past three years is anyone’s guess, although here is a good summary of the latest policies by the BBC.

The new government places a question over former NHS Islington Chief Exec Rachel Tyndall, who went full-time on the secretive North Central London Sector Trust (which was to implement the Whittington closures) only last March. Lansley has also promised to abolish the sectors and generally save money on management.

One thing is for sure, cuts of some kind are immanent. All the more reason for the NHS to reassess Finsbury Health Centre’s true value in terms of patient need, transport access, building design, and place in the community. To say nothing of the real costs of refurbishment vs sale, with the possibilities of grant funding.

Congratulations to those who won, and consolations to those who lost during the last election. Most of our political friends held onto their seats in both parties, the curious exception being Marisha Ray in Clerkenwell. Unless they were Labour, those who didn’t have seats already didn’t make any gains. We wish the new Labour councillors well, particularly in Clerkenwell and Bunhill. Hopefully the Labour majority won’t go to their heads and make them forget that they were elected on a platform of increased public accountability in all local services.

Conservationists statement and Facebook page
Last week the 20th Century Society, International Council on Monuments and Sites UK and docomomo UK (conservation society for Modernist buildings) published this statement urging a swift decision for the refurbishment of Finsbury Health Centre. Appreciated, but not a moment too soon…

By popular request, SaveFHC now also has a Facebook page. As we say, not a moment too soon!

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