At its meeting on 4th October 2018, the Board of North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust considered the case for proceeding to full membership of the Royal Free London (RFL) group. The Board unanimously decided not to pursue this option, but reconfirmed the Trust’s commitment to continuing as a clinical partner in the RFL group.
Throughout June and July 2018, Healthwatch Enfield involved local residents and stakeholders in conversations about the future direction of the hospital, including the option of North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust becoming a full member of Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust such as Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals, which were acquired by Royal Free in 2014.
Enfield residents agreed that North Mid faces significant challenges. These include (but are not limited to): inappropriate use of A&E and the ability to deliver high quality care through services that meet local needs, whilst providing good patient experience, recruitment and retention of staff and addressing the financial deficit of the trust. Although there was no consensus on the best way forward to address these, local people said that:
- opportunities for closer working with other organisations such as primary care and community services, including the possibility of sharing resources and budgets to improve patient care, could be explored
- the option of a full membership of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust to address the hospital’s challenges could not be agreed on as an appropriate assessment could not be undertaken due to insufficient information being available.
Enfield residents were however in agreement on their expectations of any partnership North Mid considers. The criteria include: bringing additional money and resources; an ability to clearly demonstrate benefits and how services could be improved for local people; understanding of the local population’s needs and how to deliver services effectively; guaranteeing that North Mid remains accountable to local people and stakeholders and demonstrating what additional support would be provided to staff working at North Mid.
The findings from Healthwatch Enfield’s engagement and outreach activities were analysed and presented as a report, Informing the future direction of North Mid, which formed part of the evidence base considered by the directors at North Mid on 4th October 2018.