Potters Bar hospital fears as figures show five services cut in a year
PUBLISHED: 09:45 14 September 2017 | UPDATED: 12:23 14 September 2017
Potters Bar Community Hospital is facing an uncertain future after it emerged that five of its services have been cut in just over a year – with more potentially at risk.
Last month’s anticoagulation unit closure sparked outrage in the community, as the service was disbanded and “soaked up” into other nearby hospitals.
It was being run at the Barnet Road site by the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust (RF), which has revealed the move was the latest in a string of service cuts made this year.
Since August 2016, RF has stopped its Potters Bar-based ENT (ear, nose and throat) services, dermatology, general surgery and orthopaedics. Urology was also scrapped in June 2015.
In addition, the trust refused to confirm that none of its nine remaining services – including physiotherapy and X-rays – would soon follow suit.
Potters Bar’s MP Oliver Dowden said: “Like many constituents I was concerned to learn about these changes to services at Potters Bar Community Hospital.
“I have been in direct contact with the Royal Free to share these concerns and will soon be meeting personally with their chief executive, Sir David Sloman.
“It is my understanding that the future of the hospital is fully secure, but I am seeking an urgent clarification from them and the local NHS clinical commissioning group, Herts Valley, about the reasons behind these decisions and the hospital.”
Asked to respond to fears that the cuts were just steps towards PBCH’s eventual closure, a Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust spokesman said: “PBCH remains a hub for HTC’s services in the local area.
“HCT’s services in PBCH include the in-patient rehabilitation wards and outpatient department.
“Outreach clinics for Moorfields Eye Hospital are held in our outpatient department several times a week.
“HCT’s district nurses, speech and language therapists, dietitians, community matrons and our continence and diabetes teams are based on site in the Tilbury Unit.”
RF previously said the anticoagulation unit in PBCH was discontinued due to “low attendance and declining numbers”.
Following research by the Potters Bar Edition, HTC confirmed that there were 12 sessions in July, three per week, with 267 appointments made overall.
The figure compares to 351 appointments during the same month in 2016 and 452 the year before.