Health secretary Andrew Lansley has forced a rethink over a planned reconfiguration at Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals Trust following a meeting to discuss his “four tests” for service changes.
The rejected proposals included centralising emergency and obstetrics services across the two hospital sites and at North Middlesex University Hospital Trust.
The trusts, along with local councils, clinicians, NHS London, NHS Enfield, NHS Barnet and NHS Haringey, have been given a month to come up with alternative plans.
The decision follows a meeting last Thursday between Mr Lansley and a cross-party group of MPs, campaigners and councillors.
Mr Lansley has previously said that all reconfigurations would have to pass four tests before they could go ahead. This included having support from GP commissioners, showing strengthened public and patient engagement, clarity on the clinical evidence base and consistency with current and prospective patient choice.
The cross-party group told Mr Lansley his four tests for reconfiguration had not been met. He has subsequently invited Enfield council, with help from the Department of Health, to work up a new reconfiguration plan.
Enfield North Conservative MP Nick de Bois told HSJ: “He [Mr Lansley] said what is clear is that there’s a large body of evidence that professionals and the public don’t back this and that other options should be considered.”
HSJ asked Mr de Bois whether the decision could have an adverse effect on the finances of the local PCTs – NHS Haringey was handed £28m from the NHS London Challenged Trust Board and NHS Enfield is predicting to end the year £11m in debt.
He replied: “The PCT [Enfield] has never really managed its finances well… Reconfiguration was never meant to be about finance.”
The plans, which have taken various forms for over a decade, have been met with huge local opposition and resulted in the election of two Save Chase Farm councillors.
A spokesman for NHS London said its decision that Mr Lansley’s four tests had been met was based on evidence from local GPs, independent clinical advice and an assessment from another SHA.