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.


13 DEC 2011

Council refuses to seek judicial review of Chase Farm decision

Labour-run Enfield Council has decided not to seek a judicial review of the downgrade of Chase Farm Hospital.

As reported on the front page of the Enfield Advertiser today (e-edition here, online article by Mary McConnell here), many residents and healthcare groups had hoped Enfield Council would seek a judicial review of Health Secretary Andrew Lansley's decision, taken in September, to downgrade Chase Farm's A&E and maternity services.

Nick gave his support to a judicial review when hopes were first raised by the Council in November.

However, Council Leader Doug Taylor said a legal challenge would be "premature" after Mr Lansley promised primary care provision in Enfield would be improved before any services at Chase Farm were shut down - although these promises that were in fact in place before the Council were considering a judicial review.

Nick said, "These are not new commitments from Andrew Lansley, so I think the council should be clear about that, as it seems odd that this is the reason for not pursuing a judicial review".

The Council has put forward the idea of appointing an independent health expert to monitor the levels of health services in the borough. Nick said, "I do believe the new clinical commissioning group led by GPs - who will be responsible for commissioning services in the borough - are best placed to monitor the quality of services and are independent of politicians. If they think an independent specialist is also required they should decide who to appoint to this role, not the council."

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