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Hospital sale outrage goes gladitorial
AN MP has warned the sale of a community hospital will 'unleash hell'.
Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner MP Nick Hurd spoke out as the backlash began against NHS Hillingdon's plans to sell Northwood and Pinner Community Hospital in Pinner Road.
The PCT has included disposal of the site in its budget report, giving a deadline of September.
The leaders of two local residents' associations have vowed to fight any effort by NHS Hillingdon to sell the site.
While the century-old hospital has been closed since 2008 after it was declared unfit for purpose, the building is dedicated as a war memorial and contains a commemorative beam. It is also still used as a base for ambulance crews.
After the news broke, Mr Hurd spoke to the management of NHS North West London cluster, of which NHS Hillingdon is part.
He said: "They were ignorant of the proud history of the hospital and the strong community attachment to it.
"I made it clear promises had been made to maintain health facilities on the site and respect the war memorial. I warned them that they would be unleashing hell if they went ahead with a sale without proper consultation.
"To their credit they were quick to accept an invitation to a meeting with myself and other community representatives. They also assured me that no firm decision had been taken."
Because the building is known to contain asbestos, community leaders have said they wouldn't oppose its demolition. But using the site for health purposes and as a war memorial is their priority.
Tony Ellis, chairman of Northwood Residents Association, told the Gazette: "A covenant on the land says it can only be used for the benefit of residents and whatever it is used for must be sanctioned by residents.
"The current health centre in Northwood is in need of desperate repair and there would be a great desire for a new building on this site.
"The news last week knocked the wind out of our sails but the covenant could give us breathing space.
"We must remember that until 1948 this hospital was entirely paid for by local people. For the PCT to sell it now would be daylight robbery."
Mr Ellis said a new building would cost about £12million. A group of interested parties will visit a similar project in Bromley-by-Bow, to see how that was funded and help develop a strategy.
A spokesman for NHS North West London said local views would be taken into account but no decision had been made on how a consultation would be carried out.
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