Even if you have never heard of the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH) located in north London, it doesn’t take too much to gather that it is a national healthcare institution revered by the British. The RNOH is one of the world’s leading orthopaedic hospitals and treats 60,000 patients a year. The big problem is this ageing hospital is in a chronic state of disrepair and costs millions of pounds to maintain every year.
The hospital is the single biggest employer in the constituency, but nearly two-thirds of the buildings are pre-fabricated pre-war structures. Water leaks through the ceilings while surgeons operate on patients (I know a few recently-constructed hospitals which are doing the same!), and the maintenance backlog is running at an estimated £54m. The NHS trust, which owns and operates the RNOH figures it would be in the best interest (whose?) to decentralise the hospital services and shut down the current one, so that it would be more economically viable.
Well, not if Professor Tim Briggs, medical director of the RNOH, can help it. He intends to challenge the former health minister Tony McNulty as an independent candidate for Harrow East with the aim of securing the future of the renowned institution. Despite intense lobbying the last 15 years , he has not got the required £60m from the NHS despite the support of the Prime Minister and successive health ministers.
Now, Professor Briggs is applying to the electoral commission to register his new political party, the Central Party for Reform, before he takes on the incumbent Labour MP.
And his chances of winning? Going by precedence (In 2001, Dr Richard Taylor unseated the incumbent Labour MP when he fought to save Kidderminster hospital), he does appear to have the upper hand..
Read more about it here.
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