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Academic input into the review of proposals to downgrade acute services at Chase Farm Hospital, North London

August 2010 - January 2011

Key contact: Dr Helen Barratt

Supervisor: Professor Rosalind Raine

During the 2010 general election campaign, the Conservative Party promised to stop ‘centrally dictated’ reorganisations of NHS services. Days after the coalition government came to power, the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, delivered a speech at Chase Farm Hospital in North London in which he declared a moratorium on NHS reconfiguration programmes, including proposals to downgrade acute services at Chase Farm. All proposals were put on hold and planners were instructed to demonstrate that plans met four new tests: support from GP commissioners, strengthened public engagement, consistency with patient choice, and clarity on the evidence base.

The Chase Farm proposals had been under discussion for more than 15 years and are regarded as a test case for the rest of the NHS because similar decisions need to be grappled with elsewhere in the country. We provided independent academic input to the review of the plans against the ‘Lansley tests’, on behalf of UCL Partners. This included 1. providing a rapid systematic review of evidence underpinning the proposed changes to women’s, children’s, emergency and surgical services; 2. analysing data from the GP consultation exercise (which sought a view from every GP in Barnet, Enfield and Haringey)67 and patient/public engagement exercise; 3. carrying out an independent assessment of the review of the strategy against the Secretary of State’s four tests