Parts of Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals could be sold off after a proposed takeover of the trust running the two sites - but NHS bosses have promised the cash would be reinvested locally.
Senior representatives from the Royal Free in central London presented their case to senior councillors this morning for their proposed takeover of the Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust.
The acquisition could take place in less than five months but local councillors pressed hard for assurances that no elements of the hospitals’ estates would be sold off.
Royal Free CEO David Sloman and the hospital’s medical director Steve Powis said they could not rule out any future sales, but insisted any cash made would have to be reinvested locally under Foundation Trust regulations.
Despite at one stage revealing he was unaware of the large amount of unused and dilapidated buildings owned by Barnet Hospital, Mr Sloman insisted to a health scrutiny committee made up of councillors from across north London the merger was well thought out.
- A greater provision of health services closer to people’s homes
- Better value for taxpayers’ money through economies of scale and centralised payrolls
- A better integration of services
- A more resilient NHS Foundation Trust covering all three hospitals
- And a focus on a change of governance, not services
The presentation team faced tough questions from members of Barnet and Enfield borough councils, as well as from Save Chase Farm campaigner Kate Wilkinson, who pressed the group on any possibility of a land-sale.
Despite assurances from Mr Sloman and Mr Powis, Enfield Councillor Alev Cazimoglu told the trust representatives they needed to be open and honest.
She said: “People are worried about the future of Chase Farm. They don’t believe you. They’re telling us this on their doorsteps that they think you’re going to take it away and sell the land.
“People want to see the details of your plans and some real commitment – particularly on the money going into Chase Farm and what they should expect.
“You’re isolated from this concern but we see it and it is genuine.”
The Royal Free representatives are due to come back before the committee in mid-June with some more detailed investment figures, before a decision on the takeover is made.