Residents demand to know why the newly refurbished Brunswick Park Health Centre remains shut

The interior of the newly refurbished Brunswick Park Health Centre

The interior of the newly refurbished Brunswick Park Health Centre

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Times Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Residents and politicians have called for a health centre to reopen after it was refurbished following a fire.

Brunswick Park Health Centre in East Barnet was closed in January 2010 after a light fitting sparked a fire that led to thousands of pounds worth of damage. Work to refurbish the health centre in Brunswick Avenue was completed in December last year, however it remains shut.

The East Barnet Residents Association (EBRA) is seeking an explanation of why the health centre remains closed and is campaigning to have it reopened as quickly as possible.

The residents association had been encouraging people to email NHS North Central London to demand action. However, it fears Sunday's abolition of the primary care trust as part of the Government's reorganisation of the NHS will lead to further delays.

Honorary Secretary of the EBRA Rob White said: “We want the NHS to get a move on. This issue has been dragging on.”

He added the health centre was desperately needed since the two doctors and their patients who used the centre were currenlty crammed into a doctor's surgery inside a house in Osidge Lane in New Southgate, which lacked the space, facilities or parking to properly accommodate them.

Mr White said: “The NHS has paid to refurbish Brunswick Park, now it is paying to keep it empty. All we want is for it to be opened.”

MP for Chipping Barnet Theresa Villiers and Barnet Borough Council have also asked for the health centre to be reopened as soon as possible.

Barnet Council’s cabinet member for health Cllr Helena Hart said: “This centre is a much valued community resource, which is absolutely vital for the health and wellbeing of local residents and which in my view has been unavailable for far too long.

“We will continue to bring every pressure possible to bear on the NHS to re-open this much needed local facility.”

Former Chief executive of NHS North Central London Caroline Taylor, who stepped down on Sunday when the primary care trust was abolished, told residents she was sorry the centre was taking so long to reopen.

“I am aware of the concerns of local residents. I am also very disappointed the doctors have not moved back in. The NHS has invested money for the health centre’s refurbishment and is now ready to provide a modern, high quality primary healthcare service for local people.

“Discussions continue to take place with local GPs and I hope these can reach a satisfactory conclusion so GP services can begin operating from there shortly.”

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