Restructuring the NHS: Finsbury Health Centre’s demise

Posted on April 23, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Polyclinics |

British Medical Journal | Letter | Published 23 March 2009, doi:10.1136/bmj.b1201 | Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1201

Heath gets to the kernel of the problem of the restructuring of the NHS.1 The indecent haste to impose polyclinics in every primary care trust (PCT), ignoring the perfectly good services that already exist as in the historic Finsbury Health Centre, makes a mockery of the principles that Ara Darzi stated would guide the implementation of his proposals: locally driven, clinically led, and no closures until alternatives are ready.

I addressed the meeting where the trust explained its plans to sell the grade 1 listed Finsbury Health Centre and re-house the two general practitioners in a new building by demolishing an existing building it does not yet own in a conservation area where it may not get planning permission. The many architects present and English Heritage presented a powerful case for refurbishing the building, including how to install a lift, but the trust seems to want to sell to a developer to make money regardless of the views of the public it is supposed to serve.

Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) sees the underlying problem as thegovernment’s obsession with using the private finance initiative to encourage private companies into the health field, and increasing competition by using independent sector treatment centres and US corporations to provide GP services.

Doctors should find out what is happening in their areas by ensuring that someone attends the PCT and overview and scrutiny meetings. Tell us about these plans and join us either as individuals or by getting your BMA division to affiliate. The BMA annual representatives meeting in 2006 supported our aims and principles, reaffirming its support in 2008 (motion 33).

Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1201

Wendy D Savageretired senior lecturer in obstetrics and gynaecology1

1 Wolfson Institute, Queen Mary, University of London, London EC1M 6BQ

Competing interests: WDS is co-chair of Keep Our NHS Public(


Heath I. “Nothing is too good for ordinary people.” BMJ 2009;338:b683. (17 February.)[Free Full Text]


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