FHC: deja vu all over again

This Thursday evening at 7.30 the Health and Wellbeing Review Committee will be deciding what to do in the wake of the PCT Board’s 22 July refusal to take seriously their report about Finsbury Health Centre or their recommendation to explore ways to refurbish and retain it as a public health building. Last March the committee promised to refer the matter back the the Dept of Health in the wake of such a decision, and this promise was backed by all parties before the election.

Now the recommendation being put to the Committee is:
1) That the Committee consider the report and agree to take further evidence on funding refurbishment of the Finsbury Health Centre before a final decision is made whether to refer this matter to the Secretary of State.

2) That the Committee agree a resolution to refer the matter to the Secretary of State, subject to being satisfied as to the feasibility of refurbishment through a charitable trust or otherwise.

It’s hard to understand what further delay will accomplish in getting the issue to the DoH, who will put it to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, (so far the only thing left untouched by Lansley’s proposals). The broad feasibility of keeping FHC, in terms of patient need, design and financial terms was proven by the Committee’s report; wherever the money eventually comes from, and whichever actual organisation oversees refurbishment and/or manages the building – these are nuts and bolts issues which can be worked out, even after the decision to refer. The process takes several months, and if a more detailed plan can be worked out before the deadline for submission of evidence, there is no reason why it could not also be considered by the IRP.

Please join us at a rally on the steps of Islington Town Hall from 7pm. The Committee meeting starts at 7.30, and the public are welcome to attend and speak on any issue. Unfortunately while FHC is still considered an ‘urgent’ issue, consideration of these ‘urgent’ issues have been placed at the bottom of the agenda.The meeting papers are here.

In the Tribune: Martin Klute’s letter 20 Aug, New Fears for future 27 Aug, and Forum, Loss of FHC would end an era 27 Aug

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