Nick started the Hands Off Our Hospital campaign in 2004 in response to the then Labour Government's plans to downgrade Chase Farm Hospital. Nick opposed the BEH Clinical Strategy which recommended replacing 24-hour A&E with an Urgent Care Centre and consultant-led maternity with a midwife-led unit.

On becoming an MP Nick continued to campaign against changes at Chase Farm. In March 2011 he led a cross-party delegation to meet Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, the result of which saw Enfield Council given the opportunity to produce a plan to rival the BEH Clinical Strategy and save services at Chase Farm.

The Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) ruled that the council's plan "does not provide any credible alternative to the current proposals" and therefore backed the BEH Clinical Strategy. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley endorsed their decision, leading Nick to criticise both the IRP and the Health Secretary, saying "I'm disappointed by the IRP's decision. Frankly I think it's the wrong decision. Chase Farm Hospital should have a 24-hour A&E unit, end of story. I also think the Secretary of State is wrong to endorse the IRP's decision".

In September 2013 the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Clinical Commissioning Group gave the go-ahead for the BEH Strategy, and with it the downgrading of Chase Farm - despite not all of the IRP's pre-conditions being met. Nick said it was the wrong decision and gave his support to Enfield Council challenging the decision in court by a judicial review. 

This challenge was rejected by the High Court on 12 November 2013 and the downgrade of A&E and maternity services will now go ahead.

Nick still maintains that Chase Farm should have a 24-hour A&E unit and consultant-led maternity services.

10 MAR 2011

Breaking News: Chase Farm given lifeline

After an Enfield deputation led by Nick, Enfield has been given the chance to come up with a counter plan to the BEH strategy and instead save A&E and maternity.

Message from Nick:

This morning I led a deputation of Enfield representatives to meet the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, to press the case that cuts to Chase Farm hospital in Enfield should not go ahead. Cuts to A&E and maternity have been put forward in the BEH Clinical Strategy – the plan that was halted by Andrew Lansley and which he said could only go ahead if it met his four tests.

However, after our deputation this morning in which we argued the four tests had not been met, the Health Secretary has thrown Chase Farm a lifeline.  Andrew Lansley recognised that there was a large body of opinion in Enfield that other options other than the BEH plan should be looked at.  He has therefore invited Enfield council as the local authority, with help from the Department of Health, to work up a new plan for the reconfiguration of hospital services. The council will engage with the emerging consortia of Enfield GPs, our local hospitals and if required the PCT.

The council will have 4 weeks to complete this plan.  

This is fantastic news and I’m delighted that Chase Farm has been given a lifeline in this way.  

What we have seen this morning is politicians from both the Conservatives and Labour working together for the benefit of the people of Enfield.

As the leader of Enfield council Doug Taylor said after the meeting to the press, “the ball is in our court”.   The deputation to meet Andrew Lansley led by Nick this morning included David Burrowes MP, Andy Love MP, Cllr Doug Taylor (leader of Enfield council), Cllr Michael Rye OBE (Chair, Enfield Health Scrutiny Panel), John Lynch (Chair, Enfield LINk) and Cllr Don McGowan (Enfield council).

Read more from the Enfield Independent here.

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