Barnet's Labour councillors have welcomed the successful campaign by mothers in East Barnet to have their baby clinic re-instated after Central London Community Health Care (CLCH) announced this week that the clinic will re-open by Christmas following discussions over an increase in rent.
However, Labour councillors are pursuing the issue of market rents being charged for services at all NHS premises, which they believe could lead to vital facilities being denied to other communities.
Labour councillor Philip Cohen is asking the council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 5 December to investigate NHS Property Services Ltd's policy of charging market rents which it clearly says on its website will in many cases mean higher rents for GPs and other premises.
In answer to his questions CLCH said health visiting, district nursing, physiotherapy and respiratory services were removed from East Barnet health centre after it re-opened following repairs in October 2015, in order to ‘clarify the new terms of our occupation which we’ve now agreed.’ It described the lease agreement as containing ‘an un-funded cost pressure.’
Cllr Cohen said, "This is great news for the mothers of East Barnet and vindicates their decision to run a public campaign for the reinstatement of the baby clinic.
"But the trust's description of the lease agreement as an ‘un-funded cost pressure’ shows the worrying extent to which rents and financial considerations are now governing the way the NHS is run."
His fellow Labour councillors Laurie Williams and Rebecca Challice also backed the mother’s petition which gained 300 signatures and called for the clinic at East Barnet health centre to re-open. Parents and carers said they were being left without access to monitor their children's health closely in the vital early years.
1. For more from Barnet Labour on this issue see: http://www.barnetlabour.org.uk/east_barnet_mums_say_we_want_our_baby_clinic_back
For more information contact Cllr Phil Cohen: firstname.lastname@example.org