Commenting on today's announcement about the future of Barnet and Chase Farm hospitals, Professor Chris Ham, Chief Executive of The King's Fund said:
'Today's announcement signals a welcome willingness from ministers to embrace the need for change.
'With some hospitals struggling to provide safe services and growing evidence that many specialist services are best located in fewer facilities that can provide world class care around the clock, this is the first of many difficult decisions that will need to be taken about the provision of hospital services in different parts of the country.
'This decision sends a signal to the NHS that reconfiguring hospital services is firmly on the agenda. An honest dialogue is needed with the public about the need for this to improve the quality and safety of services and we hope politicians will play their part by supporting changes locally where they are backed by clinical evidence.
'There is also a need to speed up and improve the decision-making process for reorganising hospital services which is complex, lengthy and bureaucratic.'
Notes to editors:
For further information, or to request an interview, please contact the Press and Public Affairs team at The King's Fund on 020 7307 2585 (if calling out of hours, please ring 07584 146035).
The briefing paper Reconfiguring hospital services was recently published by The King's Fund. This calls for radical changes to streamline the process for reorganising hospital services.