July 29 2014 Latest news:
Sam Blewett and Harry Kemble, Reporter
Thursday, May 1, 2014
The 60-year-old manager of a hospital social club locked himself in the building yesterday in a one-man protest against its closure.
Fin Robinson, who has run Goodmayes Hospital Staff Social Club for 23 years, was supposed to hand the keys back but said he will remain inside, with the doors chained shut, “until they do the right thing”.
The club closed a month ago but Mr Robinson, a qualified nurse and social worker, was given until today to leave.
“I have secured the building from the inside because this organisation has made a plan to close the staff facility without any good reason or open consultation,” he said. “There are so many people being affected. Hospital staff can no longer get a hot meal on site.”
A van visits at lunchtime to serve food but Fin said this is no good for those on shift work and the club provided hot food for £2.50 until 11pm. Cancer groups used the club to meet and hold fundraisers.
He said he and Catherine Stott, who has worked cleaning and cooking there for 18 years, have been denied redundancy and, he claims, the North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT) denies responsibility.
“They have taken the livelihood of myself and other people away,” he said. “I have nothing to lose.”
A NELFT spokesman said the closure of the club was part of an approved phased demolition of facilities at Goodmayes Hospital as the trust improves services.
The spokesman added: “The Goodmayes Hospital Social Club is not part of NELFT. Members of staff of the Goodmayes Hospital Social Club and its committee members are not employed by our organisation.”
NELFT was unable to subsidise the relocation of the club as it would take valuable resources away from direct patient care.
“North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) is an integrated care organisation operating from more than 150 hospital and clinic sites.
“Goodmayes Hospital is an important site in providing in-patient healthcare into the future. Securing planning approval for our development in 2009 was the first phase towards our aim of providing inpatient and community services from fit for purpose buildings.
“Goodmayes Hospital is a green belt site and planning permission was granted with conditions for phased demolition of existing buildings to equalise the built footprint.
“The demolition of the Goodmayes Hospital Sports and Social Club is part of trust compliance with these planning conditions.
“It is envisaged that Goodmayes will continue to provide in-patient healthcare, but its older buildings which are not fit for healthcare provision will be adapted to provide much needed residential accommodation.
“With the planned dispersal of staff into the community and the need to comply with planning conditions, the Goodmayes Hospital Social Club will close in May 2014 upon expiry of its lease.
“The Trust entered the lease with the club in 2008 with its closure and demolition in mind as part of its phased development.
“The Goodmayes Hospital Social Club is not part of NELFT. Members of staff of the Goodmayes Hospital Social Club and its committee members are not employed by our organisation.
“Any decision to move its facilities to another venue would be a matter for its committee. Unfortunately, NELFT cannot subsidise its relocation as this would take valuable resources away from direct patient care.
“Access to Goodmayes sports fields will continue for local sports clubs whilst NELFT has ownership of the site.
“Our current services are not affected by the planning discussions and operations will continue as normal.
“Any re-development of the Goodmayes site is likely to be phased over a two to three year period. NELFT will be reinvesting any sale proceeds into local healthcare.”