Mums in East Barnet are challenging the NHS to re-open a vital baby clinic at the East Barnet Health Centre as they are worried that important checks on their babies’ health and development will not be carried out without it.
Labour councillors for East Barnet are backing the mothers’ petition to the NHS, which has gathered almost 200 signatures, and say it is due to higher rents being charged to GPs to provide the service.
East Barnet Health Centre re-opened last year after a patients’ campaign but without the baby clinic. This means mothers have to travel to Vale Drive Health Centre in High Barnet, which is already very crowded.
Charlotte Gosling who started the petition said, “Our children are denied the chance to easily access the checks these clinics provide, and parents and carers cannot get any information or advice they may need as easily as they should be able to.
“We miss out on the chance to have our children weighed, measured, get advice on weaning, breast feeding and so on. It is not always possible or realistic to travel and use the already over-used clinic on a Monday at Vale Drive.”
Nia Panayiotopoulos, a local mother of three young children says there is an empty room at East Barnet Health Centre with health visitors who want to run a clinic. She believes the cost of not picking up issues with babies will be far greater later on if left.
East Barnet councillor Philip Cohen said: “It is scandalous that a much-needed mother and baby clinic is being denied to local people. This is all because the NHS is under-funded and looking to squeeze more cash out of GP surgeries. The clinic must be re-opened as soon as possible.”
A statement in June from the Central London Community Healthcare Trust (CLCH) to the East Barnet Residents Association said that “the reason for the delay in our services returning to the health centre is due to the Department of Health implementing changes to NHS Property Services charging arrangements which are likely to cause an increase in the cost of the space. CLCH are awaiting the revised rental charges from the landlord. Once this information is received we will then be able to approve the costs and instruct our solicitors to agree the lease.”