A scheme to expand the accident and emergency department at Barnet Hospital should be completed by January next year including improvements for treating children and for patients arriving by ambulance.


Planning approval has been given for the expansion. Work has already started.

Theresa Villiers, the Chipping Barnet MP, said she had been given the news at a meeting with Peter Landstrom, chief executive of the Royal Free NHS Hospital Trust.

He had confirmed that the expansion of Barnet’s A&E -- with more doctors and nurses joining the department – was now underway. Patients should start to see the benefits by early 2025.

During recent winter health crises Barnet Hospital has been highlighted in television news bulletins for long waits and overcrowding in its A&E department in Wellhouse Lane.

Reporters were told how the emergency department was having to try to cope with more patients than it was designed for, and that staff were having difficulty in meeting the NHS target for patients to wait no more than four hours to be seen.

In a statement following her meeting with the Royal Free chief executive, Ms Villiers said she welcomed his confirmation that delivery of the improvements was on schedule to be finished by the end of this year as planned.

“When I visited the emergency department, I was told the Royal Free were already expanding their staff with more doctors and nurses joining the team.

“I understand the frustration felt by constituents who have experienced long waits in A&E, especially the children’s section.

“It was good to hear from Peter Landstrom that the condition in children’s A&E will see some of the most significant enhancements following this upgrade, with more space and better facilities.

“There will also be improvements to the area where patients arriving in ambulances are passed over to the hospital.”

An ITV News report in November 2021 quoted a consultant as saying that Barnet A&E was having to cope with twice the number of cases it was designed for.

The emergency department was said to have been built for 275 patients but was having to deal with up to 470, many of whom were having to wait hours to be seen.

A year later, in December 2022, a Sky News report included interviews from patients who criticised the delays facing children. Such was the frustration, there had been some angry scenes.

At the time the Royal Free said that 65 per cent of cases were being seen within the recommended time.

Ms Villiers has campaigned for expansion at Barnet A&E and has raised the need for improvements at Prime Minister’s questions.