Orthotics consultation closes this Wednesday; reform bill in trouble

While work progresses on the ‘mini-refurbishment’ of Finsbury Health Centre past the deadline claimed earlier, the NHS Islington board quietly had its last meeting on 31 March. Unsurprisingly SaveFHC wasn’t invited to the valedictory shindig the night before… In the meantime, the website for NHS Islington continues to operate without mentioning that decision-making has now devolved to the North Central London NHS. Their website, with papers and meetings can be found here.

The consultation about relocating Orthotics and Biomechanics to Hornsey St closes this Wednesday. The consultation papers and questionnaire can be viewed and filled out here. While we recognise that offering these services only at FHC is a burden to people who live in the far north of Islington, there is no reason why appointments couldn’t be offered in two places – this option is not offered but please write in with comments. In the meantime, we have received increasing numbers of reports of people feeling forced to have physio at Hornsey Street because of the lack of appointments available at FHC. If this has happened to you, please tell us, but also make sure you make a formal complaint – this can be done online here.

The Finsbury Health Centre Community Trust signed a constitution to form a formal Building Preservation Trust last Monday with a jolly toast at St Clements Church in Kings Square, and is now in the process of filing with Companies House.

Lanlsey’s bill in trouble

Over the weekend, the headlines were all about a retreat in the Telegraph and Independent – so far it looks like only few semantic changes, as lampooned on 1 April by the Health Services Journal in an article which sounded all too true! As well as the overwhelming condemnation of the reforms by professional, patient and local bodies (and even David Owen), ministers may have been rattled by the various street auctions of health services organised by NHS Direct Action, and this particularly spectacular die-in last Friday in front of the Department of Health. The 38 Degrees petition already has 250,000 signatures, and there is another going on in combination which automatically sends your signature to your MP. If you haven’t already, make sure you add your voice to the groundswell of protest.


One Response

  1. My views re moving orthotics/bio are that it’s
    unnecessary, though accept that providing services at both sites would be even better than only at FHC. With the move of the Michael Palin stammering centre from FHC, there is increased space available at FHC, including for the biomechanics equipment, privacy for patients. Capital receipt from sale of Pine St building is to be used on FHC. This could include installation of lift, current lack of which NHS Islington claims as a reason for the move to Hornsey St.

    Other concerns re the proposed move:

    – lack of transparency/consultation over how £350k from sale of Pine Street building is to be spent on FHC. Despite numerous attempts to acquire details of same under FoI, these have been unforthcoming. There is enough money here for a lift, removing one of justifications for moving bio/orthotics services to Hornsey St, but without requested details, impossible to decide whether £350k being well-spent.

    – Hornsey St not ideal for provision of these services which are largely used by older citizens:

    (i) situated off the busy, filthy, polluted Holloway Road, where pavements around public transport narrow and crowded (surrounded by university sites);

    (ii) patients travelling from north have two roads to cross, including busy Holloway Road, to access health centre, those from south the same for return journey;

    (iii) buses are crowded along this main north-south transport hub and the journey itself a deeply depressing experience, with nothing to lift the spirits – essential for good health and responsiveness to (even mechanical) treatment in the midst of this built-up jungle of buildings; unlike the quiet surrounds of Pine St, with its park and open aspect.

    NB staggering that Hornsey St ever thought suitable for a health centre. Understand result of S106 deal with Arsenal. Clearly a top-down planning decision rather than a public-health one.

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