The Save Chase Farm campaign group has spoken out about the “unsustainable” plans to close Chase Farm Hospital’s accident and emergency department.
Kieran McGregor, from Save Chase Farm, reacted with concern to new figures which show that the number of people waiting longer than four hours for a bed in A&E at Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals has soared in the past year.
Despite a fall in admissions, the number of people waiting more than four hours for a bed once they were admitted has more than doubled in a year.
Mr McGregor said: “This is further evidence that the plans to close Chase Farm are illogical and that the arguments for retaining the hospital remain overwhelming.
“We do not think that the plans are sustainable.
“If they close Chase Farm then Barnet Hospital will not be able to cope and people’s health will be jeopardized.”
The new figures for Barnet and Chase Farm NHS Hospital Trust show that 1,092 people had to wait more than four hours for a bed between January 1 and July 1 2012.
This compares to just 492 people in the same time period during 2011.
This increase in waiting times has come at a time when admissions have actually fallen.
In the first six months of 2012, 14,443 people were admitted to the A&Es compared to 15,754 in the first half of 2011.
The new figures from England NHS Hospital Trusts place Barnet and Chase Farm in the top ten per cent worst performing trusts in England for A&E waiting times.
Councillor Barry Rawlings, Labour’s health spokesman, said: “It is strange that the number of people waiting more than four hours for a bed has increased so much.
“It is not because there were more patients because the number of patients actually fell.
“Most hospital trusts have got worse but Barnet is particularly bad and this makes the closure of Chase Farm very worrying.
“If this happens the waiting times in Barnet Hospital’s A&E department will get even longer and more people will be left on trolleys while beds are made available.”
He added: “The figures show a very big jump in the number of people being left waiting in just one year.
“This must be due to a systemic problem and there is no reason for it to get any better.”
A statement from Barnet and Chase Farm Hospital Trust said: “It is true that there were more breaches in January to June 2012 than there were in January to June 2011.
“This is largely due to a particularly difficult January and February that we experienced in 2012.”
Barnet Hospital is preparing to receive extra visitors as two units at Chase Farm Hospital, in The Ridgeway, Enfield, are to be downgraded.
The accident and emergency department and the maternity service at the Enfield hospital are due to close, which means more patients will be relying on Barnet Hospital, in Wellhouse Lane.
The closure is part of the plan, approved by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, to shake-up hospital services with the aim of improvement and tackling inequality of health care.