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 NOV 2011

Enfield Council prepares to launch judicial review of CFH decision

Message from Nick:

As you can read on the website of the Enfield Independent this morning, Enfield Council is preparing to launch a judicial review of the decision to downgrade services at Chase Farm Hospital.

I support Enfield Council in this decision.

Councillors refrained from debating the issue at Full Council last night for fear of jeopardising legal proceedings. However, Conservative Group Leader Michael Lavender was able to make clear that Conservative councillors support the moves the Council is making.

In 2008 the then Conservative administration also sought a judicial review of the then Labour Health Secretary's decision to downgrade Chase Farm. This was obviously unsuccessful, but I know for certain that residents in Enfield will expect their elected representatives – whether MPs or councillors – to fight the downgrade of Chase Farm in every way possible.

Seeking a judicial review will of course cost money (and need to be backed by legal advice arguing there is reasonable grounds for seeking a review). The issue of taxpayers money was why the Labour Party criticised the Conservatives for seeking a judicial review in 2008. I am glad but not surprised that, with the roles reversed, the local Conservatives now in opposition on Enfield Council have not behaved in the same way the Labour Party did. Instead, they have quite rightly backed Enfield Council seeking a judicial review.

Enfield is united in fighting to save Chase Farm.

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