The Independent London Newspaper

 

Finsbury Health Centre patients urged to rally to defence of historic building in face of plans to move departments

‘Loss of services can damage your health centre’ warning

Published: 18th February, 2011
by TERRY MESSENGER

PATIENTS have been urged to help fight off a “fresh threat” to the future of historic Finsbury Health Centre.

NHS Islington is planning to move two services out of the rundown centre in Pine Street, Finsbury.

The authority wants to relocate treatment to correct bone defects and to provide artificial limbs to Holloway Community Health Centre, in Horn­sey Street, Holloway.

Health chiefs recently backed down on a plan to sell the Finsbury centre, which has a prime central London site.

But campaigners now fear the latest initiative poses a fresh threat by making the centre less viable.

Save Finsbury Health Centre campaign chairwoman Barb Jacobson said: “They are still trying to run down services at Finsbury Health Centre.”

NHS Islington has launched a consultation exercise on the relocation of “orthotic and bio-mechanical” services. 

Ms Jacobson, who is urging people to object, said:  “The services should be offered in both places. Finsbury is extremely convenient for people going to work whereas Holloway is not.

“Orthotics and bio-mechanical services are very important for people with mobility problems and should remain at Finsbury whatever they do in Holloway.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Islington said: “The plan will enable the service to move to more suitable premises which will promote patient privacy and improve disabled access. 

“We believe the proposed location near Holloway Road Tube station will be more accessible for the majority of patients who will have a shorter and easier journey.”

A charitable trust has recently been launched to raise the money needed to refurbish Finsbury Health Centre – estimated at between £5million and £9million.

The centre was designed by modernist architect Berthold Lubetkin in the 1930s as a beacon of hope and progress for impoverished communities, but has been allowed to become rundown.

The health authority wanted to sell it and build a new centre but abandoned the plan as a result of the Conservative-led government’s austerity measures.

Readers can respond to the consultation exercise at www.islington.nhs.uk/relocation-of-biomechanics-and-orthotics.htm

The results of the consultation will be analysed in April. 

For more information about the campaign go to www.savefhc.org.uk.

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