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Board approves takeover of Barnet and Chase Farm Hospital
A takeover of the trust that runs Barnet and Chase Farm hospitals is on the verge of completion.
Board members of the Royal Free Hospital, in Hampstead, approved the acquisition of the Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust and are now awaiting final approval from Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt.
But patient groups say they have many questions owing to a lack of information about the takeover.
The Royal Free Hospital tabled an acquisition bid in January after the Barnet and Chase Farm trust revealed a deficit of £32.5million.
There were also pressures from the Government, which urged all hospital trusts to become foundations this year.
Trust regulator Monitor has also approved the transaction following its four-month assessment of the bid.
David Sloman, the chief executive of the Royal Free, said: “Clinicians and managers from both trusts have spent a long time looking at how an expanded organisation will be able to provide even better services for our patients that are also more efficient for the taxpayer.
“Our aim is to improve care across all three sites and provide world class care closer to patients’ homes.”
Enfield North parliamentary candidate Joan Ryan has expressed concerns that the fate of the Enfield hospital is no longer in the borough’s hands.
She said: “This is a sad day as the people of Enfield have lost their say in their own hospital. Actions speak loader than words and we must see the Royal Free reinvest in the hospital.
“We will not become a deep pocket for the Royal Free and we must scrutinise every action taken by the Royal Free at Chase Farm to ensure its future.”
Life President of the Over 50s Forum Monty Meth is also apprehensive over the deal.
He said: “We welcome the takeover as we feel that something must be done to improve the hospital.
“However I still have some reservations due to the sheer lack of information in the public domain about future plans for the hospital and the minimal consultation which has taken place.”
In response to concerns raised, a Royal Free spokesman said: “Once the acquisition of Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust has been completed we aim to redevelop the health services on the site so they are provided in contemporary and fit-for-purpose accommodation.
“This redevelopment would be funded by the sale of land on the Chase Farm site that is surplus to requirements and from other external sources as necessary.
“We plan to use all the proceeds of any land sales at Chase Farm on the Chase Farm site.
“Investing in the Chase Farm site – not asset stripping – is one of the Royal Free’s key objectives. Delivering excellent care locally is at the heart of our future plans.”
Liz Wise, chief executive of Enfield Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Enfield Clinical Commissioning Group welcomes the next phase of the Royal Free acquisition of Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS trust following the approval by Monitor for the proposed transaction.
“We are working closely with our neighbouring CCGs, the Royal Free Foundation Trust and Barnet Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust to ensure that the acquisition plans deliver sustainable, high quality health services for the local people of Enfield.”
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