MP for Hornsey and Wood Green
At last – finally I have my meeting with Ruth Carnell, the new London Health supremo. Her body is the one that matters in terms of making sure that if lands are sold off around the Hornsey Central Hospital site then they monies come back to develop health services on the rest. I had been wanting to meet her for some time to ask for guarantees to ring fence the proceeds for the Hornsey Central site.
At first they refused – and said I had to see the local Health Trust (Enfield and Haringey) which was useful – but they do not have the authority to say where money will go. So having got the meeting (and I am genuinely grateful to Ruth for coming over to Portcullis House and giving me her time – with 31 separate trusts to deal with she is just a bit busy) – I put the case.
Ruth was willing and is going to write a letter saying that we can have the proceeds provided there is a credible plan on the table. I guess that is as good as we are going to get and if the bid to the Government for the other £7 million that is needed succeeds – then there should be a credible plan.
Obviously whilst I had the opportunity, I put some of the points I’ve been campaigning on with my Lib Dem colleagues: the need for net gains in terms of GPs; the need for ordinary local people to have a real input in terms of what is provided on the site in terms of services; issues around fears that private providers might be brought in and about the knock on dangers this would have for the Whittington, etc.
We didn’t see eye-to-eye on all the issues – particularly the role of private providers in providing NHS services – so I’m sure there will be more debating in the future. But for now – things are moving forward in pretty much as good a direction as we could have given the rules and policies Labour have drawn up for health services. And in the New Year, my colleague – Health Spokesperson Cllr Richard Wilson – will be publishing the Liberal Democrat Prescription for Hornsey Central Hospital.