As we have heard, Brexit will present us with many problems, particularly with health care provision. Not only are we not getting large sums of money, but we will actually be worse off. We will face many challenges because of that decision, and if the promise of £350 million led people to vote in a particular way that will undermine the funding we receive, that is a desperate state of affairs.
People feel badly let down by the leave campaign’s empty pledges on the NHS over the past few months, and residents in Enfield are deeply disenchanted by the Government’s failure to fulfil their recent promises to our local health service. Before the 2010 general election, the then Leader of the Opposition—actually, he was then Prime Minister of the coalition Government—stood outside Chase Farm hospital in my constituency and vowed to protect its A&E and maternity units. By 2013, his Government had shut both departments. Many of us warned at the time that closing Chase Farm’s A&E department would put huge strain on other local health services, including North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, which is the subject of the CQC report that I referred to earlier. We were right, and almost three years since the decision to close Chase Farm’s emergency department, the NHS in Enfield has reached breaking point.
Earlier today the Care Quality Commission published its report into the standard of care at North Middlesex hospital, following a spot check by its inspection team in early April. It found that the closure of Chase Farm’s A&E has led to significant increases in patient numbers attending the emergency department at North Mid. Despite being one of the busiest A&E departments in the country, North Mid’s urgent and emergency services have been graded as “inadequate”, and patient safety has been compromised. Patients who arrive at the emergency department are not seen quickly enough by clinical staff, and they are waiting too long to be seen by a doctor. Some blue-light patients are being brought in, and hard-pressed nurses are dealing with them because no doctor is free to treat them.