Contraception centre to close, but senior nurse roles remain

Trust commits to maintain provision and relocate services after campaign to save Margaret Pyke Centre in London

A London NHS trust has pledged to maintain the role of senior nurses based at one of the world’s busiest contraceptive centres, despite deciding to relocate the service.

The Margaret Pyke Centre in King’s Cross, which provides contraceptive, screening and pregnancy testing services, will close and its services will be transferred to other locations in the capital, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust announced. 

Around 70% of the service will move to the trust's Mortimer Market Centre in central London and 30% to its Archway Centre in north London, with the move scheduled to be completed by September.

This follows a consultation and will allow the trust to make a £2.7 million saving in response to cuts to local authority public health budgets. 

The Save the Margaret Pyke Centre campaign group, which includes former and current nursing staff from the centre, hailed the news a victory despite the closure, because it had won agreement from the trust on key service requirements. 

These include a commitment to maintain the role of senior nurses and to maintain expert levels of service, such as the provision of intrauterine contraceptive methods and psychosexual counselling.

In a statement, the group said that current and retired staff from the centre had outlined what was needed 'to ensure the amazing work of the service continues, regardless of where it is housed'.

Former clinical nurse specialist at the centre Angela Wedgwood said: ‘If the service had been completely fragmented that would have been a concern. With 70% of the Margaret Pyke service remaining in one place, it will maintain that centre of excellence.’ 

The trust confirmed that while there will be staff cuts within the centre's services, as it competes to retain the tender for provision of sexual health services, these will be less extensive than if the centre had remained at its current site.

Trust chief executive Claire Murdoch said: ‘This has been a difficult time, especially for the staff, but we have measured up to the challenge. That’s good for services and patient care.’