It was not unexpected, but deflating nonetheless, when the PCT board rejected the recommendations of the Health and Wellbeing Committee this morning. They refused to look properly at any kind of community or not-for-profit trust option, for contradictory reasons – while this was suggested to widen the possible funding pool, they seem to expect that any mooted trust has to come ready-made with funding, rather than experience in dealing with refurbishment. Although several large potential sources of funding from medical/arts trusts were suggested as good possibilities, the board ignored them.
Although they later agreed to £2 million for a ‘refurbishment’ of Whittington A&E for an Urgent Care Centre, a project which has not yet been fully agreed by Whittington Hospital Trust, the claim about FHC was that direct capital funding for it is impossible under the current capital figure of £14 million for the whole of the five boroughs under the new sector trust. Whatever happened to the £5.1 capital surplus the PCT showed last year?
Cllr Martin Klute spoke for about ten minutes about his committee’s recommendations and was a great pains to distance himself and the committee’s report from SaveFHC. Fair enough. Later, however, after a remark by Chair Paula Kahn which assumed that the issue will now go to the Department of Health, Klute stated that the Committee would have to look at the issue again and that referral ‘is not a certainty.’ When questioned about this afterwards he raised the general assumption that the PCTs will be abolished soon and that the recent White Paper on the health reforms hasn’t mentioned what will happen to NHS property.
So, the next date for the diary is 7.30 Tuesday 2 September at Islington Town Hall, when the Health and Wellbeing Committee will meet and decide their response.
Thanks to all who showed up for the biggest morning picket so far, and all who sent greetings. Our big new banner attracted many honks from motorists on Goswell Rd and our leaflets were generally well received, including by very many who work in the PCT. Looks like it may be needed for a while longer.
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