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Islington Tribune - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 26 June 2009
Hopes rise for centre

• AFTER our attendance at Islington Council’s health and wellbeing committee on June 11, supporters of Finsbury Health Centre are feeling optimistic. Alan Johnson (no longer Minister for Health) had sent our petition to save the health centre back to Islington for process. We were heartened when the new chairmen of the council committee, Councillor Martin Klute, declared that the decision regarding the future of the health centre was now theirs.
The committee listened to our concerns about the proposed closure of the centre on supposed financial grounds and the lack of consultation. The committee passed a proposal that a new costing be made by experts, to be appointed. It resolved that transparency regarding these findings will be the order of the day. Our feeling of optimism is based on that fact.
While we shall naturally be putting our case for keeping the centre open we feel we have nothing to hide.
Our revulsion over the proposal to shut the centre centred on the lack of any debate about how it may have failed its patients.
As one of some 14,000 GP patients and one of a much smaller group of physiotherapy patients, I have found the services there as good as any in my experience, indeed better.
Nor was there any disclosure about how the £400,000 a year supposedly saved (the figure initially given) through closure of the centre could be better spent while “disenfranchising” thousands of citizens from their local medical services.
Thanks are due to the Tribune, which has enabled us to keep the topic alive while NHS Islington preferred that any such notions be buried along with the centre. It was Britain’s first publicly owned health centre. Here for the first time doctors worked alongside other health professionals. In the 21st century we are just trying to take on board the notions of health care propounded here.
In Islington, in particular, there are numerous examples where renovation of properties has been skilfully undertaken at a fraction of the cost of new building.
The health centre is particularly suited to renovation and adaptation. Far-sighted architect Berthold Lubetkin had planned for future advances in medical science. He designed internal walls to be non-load bearing. Therefore hallways and passages can be widened where necessary. The building has great capacity for expansion.
Is NHS Islington capable of making proper use of this spacious building for medical care in the 21st century?
Percival Street, EC1

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Islington Tribune, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to Deadline for letters is midday Wednesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld . Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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