PCT moves closer to reality, but no money on offer

As reported in the last post, we were waiting to see what the PCT’s attitude would be towards a charitable trust working towards refurbishment. As reported by Cllr Martin Klute at the Health and Wellbeing Ctte meeting last Tuesday, the PCT have affirmed that at least until April next year there are no plans to move any services out of Finsbury Health Centre. (With the exception of orthotics, and the Stammering Centre into Pine St, see below.) While the PCT have no interest in participating, they have promised ‘to share relevant information’ for a fresh look at the options for refurbishment.

They say they have, however, ‘no money’ available to contribute to this, despite the fact that, even after the minimal repairs requested by English Heritage are paid for, there will be cash to spare from the sale of the Pine St Centre next door if that goes ahead. As SaveFHC has highlighted on numerous occasions, even without this sale the £20k for a refurbishment study is chicken feed compared to the recent spends on management consultants (over £1 million last year alone), executive salary rises over the past two years (£50k just for ex-PCT Chief Exec Rachel Tyndall), and the accumulated budget underspend over the past ten (£9.1 million).

After April, even if the new Health Bill is delayed further, Islington PCT will be subsumed into the North Central London Sector (prop. Rachel Tyndall) for the five boroughs of Islington, Camden, Haringey, Enfield and Barnet. The PCT reps claimed to ‘have no idea’ where ownership of Finsbury Health Centre will go after April, and refused to make any promises that services will remain in FHC after that. Cllr Klute said that he is keeping referral to the Dept of Health ‘in suspension’ in case it is needed after April.

So it remains up to us to build the momentum for refurbishment. To that end the next meeting of the Finsbury Health Centre Community Trust will be held on Monday, December 13th, 7pm at 1a Arts on Rosebery Avenue EC1. As well as a discussion of recent developments there will be a constitution ready to sign.

Orthotics move delayed for ‘fresh consultation’

Cllr Klute also reported that the PCT has promised to undertake a fresh consultation with ‘staff and service users within the last 18 months’ about moving orthotics and biomechanics up to Hornsey Rd. He called the PCT board decision to sell the Pine St building next door ‘interesting’, and did not indicate any opposition to it on the Council side.

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One Response

  1. Suggest the Finsbury Health Community Trust ask the PCT to pay the £20k for a refurbishment study from the £408k underspend on its 09-10 capital account. Changes in Department of Health (DH) rules mean that it was able to keep this money – unlike in previous years when the bulk of the £9.1m it chose not to spend in Islington, let alone on FHC, ended up in DH coffers. Has it spent it already, and if so on what? Perhaps on the shiny new Hampstead Road headquarters for the super-size new management body – North Central London sector – which will replace the PCT in April and whose boss is former PCT boss, Rachel Tyndall? Moving chairs, sliding doors, whatever – senior Islington PCT staff are noticeable by their presence in this new outfit.

    Over the eight years of its existence, Islington PCT chose not to spend one penny of the £9.1m on maintenance of FHC. What contempt for the 1938 precursor of the NHS which offered free medical care for local people long before most of these health bosses were born. Is it their handsome salaries that have clouded their view of history or do they simply not care?

    As they sit in their characterless new NW1 offices, planning – if the government gets its way – how to spend public money doing their master’s bidding, is it too much to expect that some of them at least might reflect on the bigger question of what kind of NHS we need: a ‘sickness’ service as at present, or one which promotes health and well-being? Ivan Illich’s 1970s’ classic ‘Limits to medicine’ could make useful xmas reading.

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