Accident and emergency department faces closure

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AN ACCIDENT and emergency department serving a large area of north London may be forced to close, writes Celia Hall.

If Camden and Islington Health Authority goes ahead with its plans to limit the number of hospitals its patients can be referred to, then the future of University College and the Middlesex hospitals will be in jeopardy, hospital staff believe.

It will mean the loss of most of the pounds 23m paid for the services the hospitals provide for patients living in Camden and Islington.

The health authority document says the plan is necessary as Camden and Islington will lose pounds 20m of its funding in the next three to five years.

Sam Ryall, communications manager for the University College hospitals, said: 'There will be huge disadvantages for local people. If this goes ahead it would mean the closure of our accident and emergency department, and, at this stage it is hard to see how the whole futures of the hospitals will not be affected.'

The authority proposes buying cheaper services from the Royal Free Hospital Trust and the Whittington Hospital.