'Emergency frontline services are being stripped from the local community' (From Enfield Independent)
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Save Chase Farm action group: 'Emergency frontline services are being stripped from the local community'
Campaigners have criticised a decision to downgrade services at Chase Farm Hospital before the end of the year.
Members of the Enfield, Barnet and Haringey clinical care commissioning groups voted in favour of closing the hospital’s accident and emergency and maternity departments “as soon as possible” from November 15.
At the same time Barnet and North Middlesex hospitals will be provided with expanded facilities and their staffing levels will be increased.
Speaking about the decision, Kate Wilkinson of the Save Chase Farm campaign group, said: “It’s not surprising at all – this was just a tick box exercise but it’s really about what happens now.
"Emergency frontline services including intensive care facilities are being stripped from the local community.
“If the CCGs are confident that it’s safe to close the emergency facilities at the busiest time of the year when intake figures at A&E have doubled over the past year, let’s see the evidence to back it up.
“Staffing and capacity issues have also not been resolved. I hope the council will fight the decision."
Enfield Council announced it has sought legal advice and plans to challenge the plans.
Council leader Councillor Doug Taylor said: “I’m disappointed with the CCGs' decision – I don’t think it’s in the interest of residents in Enfield.
“I think a lot of people looking for acute care at Chase Farm will find themselves in a very difficult situation. They won’t get the adequate care they need and there will be an increase in pressure on other hospitals in the area. It isn’t what was promised.”
Previous conditions required that primary care should be improved in Enfield before the closures were rolled out.
MP for Enfield North, Nick de Bois, agrees this has not happened and is backing the council’s decision to go ahead with a legal challenge.
Speaking to the Enfield Independent he said: “The decision made today was the wrong one.
"The problem for Enfield is there is a history of a lack of trust. Things have been promised before and not delivered. The CCGs have got a long way to go to persuade me and the people of Enfield that this is the right decision.
“I’m very pleased with Enfield Council’s statement but now it’s got to be backed up with action. If they do that they won’t hear any complaints from me.”
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