Edward Lister is the Leader of Wandsworth Council and a member for Putney's Thamesfield ward.



There can be few areas of the capital which are worse off for hospital services than Putney.

The Queen Mary's saga is by now well documented. Closed by the present health secretary Alan Milburn in 1998 it stands forelorn on Roehampton Lane as a reminder of broken promises.

Yes there is a minor injuries unit on site - although its hours have recently been cut back from the original 7am-11pm to 8am-8pm - but remember this was once a full-scale general hospital with 24 hour accident and emergency services.

A new slim-line hospital is, we are repeatedly told, on the way. Work should have started two years ago. But after all the wrangles with the controversial PFI scheme and the need for a face-saving deal with the unions it is now looking more and more certain that no new facility can open its doors before 2006 at the earliest.

Meanwhile the long-derelict Putney Hospital is, we learn this week, costing the NHS £320,000 a year in security costs alone. What all these delays and broken promises show us is just how unaccountable our health service really is to the people it is meant to serve.

Those Putney residents who generously contributed last year to the legal costs of the night flights case brought by eight west London residents against the UK Government will soon be asked to dip into their pockets for one last time.

Although the European Court eventually ruled that night flights did violate human rights ministers are now seeking to have the landmark judgment overturned.

Wandsworth council, which also provided funding for the challenge - and co-ordinated contributions from other boroughs under the flight path - will be backing the fresh appeal which will be heard in Strasbourg in the autumn.

We think we have an excellent chance of winning again. But you can be sure that we will face a fresh onslaught from both the government and the aviation industry who will be hiring the best legal representation money can buy.

The council and campaign group HACAN expect to announce details of the fund raising plans in the next few days. You can keep track of our progress on the council's special aircraft noise website which was featured recently in the Evening Standard. You can find us on

Edward Lister
Leader of the Council

You can contact Edward Lister at the Town Hall on 0208 871 6041 or by email at

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