North London Partners in health and care

Temporary changes to children and young people’s services


Our top priority is to provide safe, high quality services that best meet the needs of our patients.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, temporary changes were made to children and young people’s services across north central London (NCL) to ensure that patients received the very best care.

To make sure we can continue to provide the best care possible throughout the winter and are prepared for a potential second surge in COVID-19 cases, a review of children and young people's services across NCL has been taking place.

The review concluded that staffing levels are a challenge to being able to maintain safe and resilient services for children and young people and has recommended bringing together a smaller number of emergency departments and inpatient units.

In the coming weeks the following temporary changes will be made to children and young people’s services across NCL:

  • Barnet Hospital emergency department and inpatient unit will reopen on Monday 24 August, including child and adolescent mental health services crisis support
  • Royal Free Hospital emergency department and inpatient unit will be closed
  • Whittington Health emergency department and inpatient unit will be expanded
  • Great Ormond Street Hospital will provide an enhanced role for elective inpatient services and some – but not all – day surgery, building on existing arrangements.

The emergency department and inpatient unit at North Middlesex University Hospital will remain open. University College London Hospitals will continue to provide specialist inpatient and day case services, including cancer haemato-oncology and complex adolescents. The UCLH children and young people’s emergency department will remain closed over winter.

The proposals have been agreed by the senior and clinical leadership of NCL and NHS England and Improvement London. A group of senior operational and clinical leads from across NCL are working together on implementation plans.

We are in the process of talking to all staff affected and continuing to work on some pathways which remain unresolved. Other stakeholders including patients, the public and key partners will be also informed.

We are hugely grateful for all your work and for the way you have responded to the pandemic and changes to services in recent months.

These changes are likely to be implemented in the next month and we will of course keep you updated.