Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Haringey's Health, Historically

Fact fans - some fascinating historical background regarding the fate of the borough's hospitals - written by Sue Hessel, Vulnerable Groups Officer (Haringey Federation of Residents’ Associations)

In the 1980s Haringey had six hospitals:

From 1948 St. Ann’s was a General Hospital, and by 1973 it had 586 beds. There is no general hospital in the whole of Haringey now and in April of this year what was left of St. Ann’s was threatened with closure due to its filthy state.

The Prince of Wales Hospital in Tottenham, with its 204 beds, was closed down in 1983 with the promise that it would become an "integrated health facility". By the 1990s it had become luxury flats and serves to show us that we should never believe what we are told!

Wood Green and Southgate Hospital was closed in 1991 to become 30 sheltered flats (Passmore Edwards House).

Coppets Wood, Muswell Hill served as one of only 2 isolation hospitals in Britain for hazardous infections from the 1933 until 2000. It is now luxury housing.

Southwood Hospital, Highgate also became luxury housing in 2003.

The doors of Hornsey Central Hospital were closed to patients in 2000. I bet lots of local readers can remember the days when it had three wards, an operating theatre, busy clinics staffed by Whittington Consultants in Ear Nose and Throat, haematology (blood tests), radiotherapy, maternity, gynaecology, as well as physiotherapy. Later it served the elderly population and there are many happy memories of the warmth and care and community spirit that our local elderly received here, and a contrast to the reports we read now about hospital care of the elderly.

After nine years of no services on the Hornsey Hospital site it has now been rebuilt as a huge GP centre causing the closure of local more accessible GP surgeries in the process - at cost particularly to the elderly and disabled who will find the travelling harder.

When you look at Haringey PCT’s finances it is difficult to imagine that the public purse will be able to afford many extra health services in here.

From April 2009 Haringey PCT have committed present and future taxpayers to pay rent for this building of £873,000 each year for the next 30 years. This year they had to find an additional £254,000 to pay for its furniture and fittings.

(source Haringey PCT annual accounts 2008/2009 –p28and 29 appendix of May 2009 Board papers - not on line for some reason but I have a hard copy!)

(Haringey PCT’s Lordship Lane Health Centre site has a rent of £712,000pa for 25 years, since May 2007.)

Lots more health cuts are on the way. In April Haringey PCT reported a financial gap of £16m in achieving balanced budget for 09/10. This year there is a new savings target of £3.5m.

They had to find an extra £130,000 to pay for the administrative costs of the Baby P inquiry (which concluded with Tracy Baldwin’s resounding apology for their part in the scandal).

Last year Chief Executive Officer of Haringey PCT, Tracy Baldwin, received £190,000pa - about the same as the Prime Minister! (who is paid £197,000)
Finance Director, Harry Turner, received £164,000pa.

The managers of the PCT are the NHS equivalent of the bankers. They take huge salaries and it is they who are responsible for the reduction in our health services.

There has been a massive increase in health bureaucracy since the government brought in Primary Care Trusts. Guess how many administrators it took to run the whole of Hornsey Central Hospital? ONE. This was Mrs. Brice with her two assistants. The medical staff including Matron did the rest!

Now the government has finally owned up that the finances are in a mess and we need to start looking at "efficiency savings," perhaps it’s time Haringey health managers started getting a taste of their own medicine?


  1. The Wood Green Hospital was one of several funded by John Passmore Edwards, the Victorian Philanthropist and opened in June 1895. Passmore Edwards was born the son of a carpenter and beerhouse keeper in Cornwall, received the most basic of education but went on to own one of London's leading evening newspapers, The Echo. He was a Radical Liberal who campaigned for both social and political reform and was a peace activist. He spent a short spell in Parliament, where he represented Salisbury from 1881 to 1885. His time in the house was not as productive as he had hoped. He considered that most MPs were there for self interest, either climbing the social ladder or promoting their commercial interests and called it the House of Waste. Being at one with Carnegie (see Carnegie's Gospel of Wealth) Edwards considered that the attainment of wealth placed responsibilities on the recipient to help those less fortunate and in 1889 set out to redistribute his wealth to those from whom, through their labours, it had arisen, the working classes. In just 14 years he was responsible for the funding of over 70 public buildings including the headquarters of the National Society for Epilepsy, the Whitechapel Art gallery, several London Free Libraries, hospitals, convalescent homes, schools and the first building for the London School of Economics. He said that if he could fund the ladder the poor would climb. He was twice offered a knighthood and twice refused, preferring to stay as he was. What a contrast to today's politicians, bankers, and other high earners.
    On opening the Wood Green Hospital, at a time when those hospitals as existed were provided entirely by voluntary means, he said that hospitals sprang from unselfish motives, and people who supported them did so from no hope of personal gain. Hospitals were perpetual preachers of the gospel of human brotherhood- a gospel never more wanted than now, when mammon worship claimed so many adherents.

  2. Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!

    Best Dissertations