The PCT have been doing more than just threaten to move orthotics, they decided to sell the Pine Street site to the charity which runs the Michael Palin Centre. The Association for Research into Stammering in Childhood will do up the existing building with a £500k grant from the last government for speech therapy services. The NHS will get space in it for a peppercorn rent, and it will free up the whole middle of the first floor of Finsbury Health Centre. The PCT will get £350k from the deal to use for FHC.
Again this has been done without public consultation, but this could be a positive move. It immediately gives the PCT enough money to pay for the immediate repairs demanded by English Heritage (£30K), an options appraisal by conservation specialists Heritage of London Trust Operations (£20k) with £300k to spare.
No mention was made of FHC, however, in the PCT’s statement about the sale. In his presentation of the business case to sell Pine St out-going Finance Director repeated the PCT board’s decision last July that it ‘is not in a position to consider refurbishment’ of Finsbury Health Centre,’ although he did say the use of the money for the immediate repairs on FHC is an advantage of the sale.
Much will depend on current negotiations between Islington Council and the PCT. A meeting is supposed to happen this Tuesday 30 November in advance of the Health and Wellbeing Committee meeting at 7.30. It is to be hoped Chair Martin Klute will have something positive to report this evening.
As much as it indeed would be far better if the PCT simply got on with exploring options for refurbishment with the Council, HOLT and the community trust under formation (next meeting 13 December), past experience of ‘positive moves’ by the PCT invite scepticism. If there are further delays the HWB Committee is going to have to finally refer this back to the Department of Health.
Meanwhile, even as the PCT executive rushes to implement a ‘transition process’ to turn itself (or rather the North London Sector) into a commissioning board in advance of the abolition as mooted in the White Paper, the legislation itself has been much delayed, now not expected until after the new year. Still time to get those letters in.
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