Enfield North MP hits out at Chase Farm Hospital boss over reduced opening hours

The urgent treatment centre at Chase Farm has now been operating with ‘temporary’ reduced hours for seven months, reports James Cracknell

Chase Farm Hospital and (inset) Labour MP Feryal Clark
Chase Farm Hospital and (inset) Labour MP Feryal Clark

Enfield North MP Feryal Clark has hit out at the bosses of Chase Farm Hospital over ongoing reduced hours at its urgent treatment centre.

Feryal says she is “extremely concerned” with the earlier closure times of the urgent treatment centre, which have been in place since last July but were only intended to be temporary while Chase Farm filled a number of staff vacancies.

The facility offers residents needing non-emergency care the ability to turn up without an appointment, which Feryal says is something much-needed given the current backlogs and difficulties with accessing primary care via GP practices.

The opening hours were previously 8am until 10pm, but since 11th July the urgent treatment centre has been closing at 8.30pm each evening, with patients only being booked in until 7.30pm.

In a letter sent last week to Chase Farm chief executive Dr Alan McGlennan and seen by the Dispatch, Feryal writes: “I am extremely concerned that the urgent treatment centre at Chase Farm is still operating on reduced opening hours.

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“I have repeatedly raised my concerns regarding the reduced hours. My constituents need to be able to access the care they need.

“I have been consistently reassured that this is temporary measure […] It’s now been seven months.”

Although some new staff appointments have been made, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Chase Farm, has said “challenges” remain and that the temporary opening hours need to continue to ensure it can “consistently deliver the best possible care”.

Attendances at the urgent treatment centre are said to be at a “record high” with between 120 and 150 attending each day on average.

Feryal is demanding reassurance that the temporary opening hours will not become permanent and adds in her letter: “I am told by the ICB [integrated care board for North London] that access and appointments in general practice are not an issue. Yet I consistently receive complaints from constituents that they are not able to get a GP appointment and evidently end up in the urgent care treatment centre.”

A Royal Free London spokesperson said: “Due to the continued challenges around staff recruitment and the high volume of patients attending, Chase Farm Hospital’s urgent treatment centre is currently operating at reduced hours.

“If you need urgent medical assistance and your condition isn’t life-threatening, please call 111 or, for those aged five and over, visit and they’ll advise you what to do. This service is available 24 hours a day.”

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