MP for Hornsey and Wood Green
Ruth Carnall is the Chief Executive of the new London Strategic Health Authority. I wanted to see her because at the recent public meeting on Hornsey Hospital it was made clear that a parcel of land from the site is to be sold off. Now – it is one thing if it is sold and all the money comes back into developing a new health facility on the site – but another if the money disappears into some distant pot and we here are left high and dry without hospital, without the land and without the dosh!
Where the money goes is down to this new body – so I wanted to meet them, but they didn’t want to see me! When my office phoned, (and my ‘arranger’ Ed is pretty insistent) – they insisted that I go and see the local Chief Executive of the Enfield Haringey Health Authority – Tracy Baldwin. So I did on Friday.
Happily, the fuss I made about wanting to see Ruth Carnall had preceded me in that Tracy Baldwin had been to the London body and been greeted by ‘who is this Lynne Featherstone?’! According to Ms Baldwin this was helpful in that the bid for a government pot of money is ready to be submitted (this is the larger part of the funding needed for the new facility) and if the government grants the bid then, together with the proceeds of the land sale, there would be the money and the plans to start work on the new facility on the site early in the new year. And – importantly – the London Strategic Health Authority have now said that Haringey will have first call on the proceeds. So – not quite a cast-iron legal contract, but pretty good news and if the bid is successful it looks as if the money will come here and the project will go ahead.
I am writing a letter of support for the bid – because this is the best shot at delivering facilities we are going to get. It’s best to get the best of what’s possible. There are other lesser options in the bid – but this is the one to go for. I am optimistic – and next it will be a matter of working to ensure that local people and users of local GPs services get an input to the next round of decisions about the site and its development.
We are a long way on from last year when it looked like only private money for private health would make the project viable. At least with this system the vast majority of the funding is NHS and the consequent facilities are mostly what local people say that they want. So – fingers crossed.