Health bosses have officially opened three new units at Chase Farm hospital.
The hospital, in The Ridgeway, Enfield, was downgraded in December 2013 with the closure of accident and emergency (A&E) and the maternity units at the site.
But the hospital will still take patients with minor injuries and complaints, and deal with children, and members of the Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals trust and Mayor of Enfield Chaudhury Anwer, have officially opened a new Urgent Care Clinic (UCC), Older Person’s Assessment Unit (OPAU) and Paediatric Unit.
As part of the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey health strategy, the UCC, opened on December 9, 2013, is open seven days a week from 9am to 9pm and deals with non life-threatening injuries.
The downgrade was surrounded in controversy for nearly a decade, with many protesters fighting to keep the A&E open amid fears that the closure would leave remaining casualty units unable to cope.
Today, Tim Peachey, chief executive the trust hailed the opening of the three units as a ‘new beginning’.
He said: “If there is no change, there would be no history and today is about a new beginning.
“I suppose the anxiety we had initially we had is, will this be popular? When we first opened we had 35 people a day coming in and we had scoped it for 100 people a day.
“The good news is that it is over 100 and we are getting confidence from local residents to come here and I wish a few more Barnet residents would come here also. Why would they want to wait a longer time at the A&E at Barnet?
“This is a new beginning; there is a lot further to go to develop the strategy.”
Mr Peachey also claimed that 92.5 per cent of patients who come to the urgent care unit are discharged and treated within two hours.
According the trust figures, the unit now has 109 people come through its doors every day.
Southgate MP David Burrowes was also in attendance and accompanied the tour around the three units.
Helen Andrea, 73, brought her husband Polydros, 79, who suffers with pancreatic cancer, to the new older persons' assessment unit.
She said: “It is absolutely lovely in here; they have treated my husband very well. He was in quite a bad way but they are changed a couple of things with his medicine and now he seems better.
“I have been a resident in Enfield for more than 30 years. I admit, I was disappointed to see the accident and emergency go. This new unit has a great atmosphere and I hope it can deal with the pressures of the demand.”
GPs will refer people to the older person's unit for specialist assessments because their health is affecting how people manage at home.
Manager Matilda Bruce-Acolatse is happy to take on the pressure of more patients since it opened on September 16, 2013.
She said: “There have been many challenges so far I enjoy working under pressure. We have been trying our best to spread the word to as many people as possible and I am going up to Barnet hospital to find more people who can be seen quicker at Chase Farm.
“We treat our patients like they are in a hotel and we give all people here an MOT and help make sure they are managing at home.”