Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

Margaret Thatcher

Remarks visiting Finchley (90m pound Barnet Hospital redevelopment announced)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: Finchley
Source: Finchley Times, 22 February 1990
Journalist: Catherine Mungeam and Marina Pirotta, Finchley Times, reporting
Editorial comments: 1530-1645 MT visited Barnet General Hospital where she announced a 90m pound redevelopment programme; 1700-1800 she called at local firms.
Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 908
Themes: Conservatism, Health policy

Thatcher says it was worth the wait

PM delivers hospitals' £90m boost

Health authority chiefs have been given the go-ahead to spend nearly £90m on a new hospital for Barnet.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher delivered the news herself at Barnet General on Friday.

She revealed that last October's three-stage redevelopment plans had been approved by the Department of Health.


Her visit coincided with the launch of Barnet Health Authority's mission statement at the hospital's post graduate medical centre.

The £89,750,000 will be spent on providing new buildings at Barnet with about £5m of that going towards improving services at Edgware.

Mrs Thatcher paid special tribute to staff: “You give a marvellous service but I know you would like better hospital buildings.”

When visiting other districts and their new hospital facilities. Mrs Thatcher said she often felt for her own constituents who have had to wait for much needed new buildings.

“Now our turn has come and we too may have our new hospital.

“One advantage of waiting, of course, is that you know exactly what you want and can learn from other people's mistakes—Barnet will profit in that way—it is so important to get things just right,” she said.

But some health activists have expressed doubt.

Barnet Health Campaign Chairman Roger Chapman said: “It sounds wonderful—but where is the money going to come from?”

A North West Thames Regional Health Authority spokesman said because the development is part of next year's capital programme, there was plenty of time for the financial situation to improve.

She said: “The important thing is allocations have been made for Barnet in the next year's budget and some money is already available for preparation involved in the project.

“We don't anticipate any delay—the first phase of the hospital should go ahead as planned in 1991.”

The New Barnet General Hospital will be built in three phases.

Phase 1 will start in 1991 with a new maternity block.

Phase 1b incorporates a surgical block with six operating theatres, casualty department. X-ray department and day surgery unit.

Phase 2 involves knocking down hut-style wards built in wartime and replacing them with new bedspace.

Phase 3 sees a new outpatients department and a variety of support services. [end p1]

A fitting treat for sole mates

Factory workers were amused to see. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher make an unexpected tour of the company on Friday.

Daisy Doyley who has worked as a machinist for the company for 23 years could not stop smiling.

“It's so hot in here. It's because Mrs Thatcher is here. I always wanted to meet her. It's made my day,” she laughed.

Another employee, Angela Chewter said: “We were all surprised to see her here. We never knew she was coming.

“You don't expect to see such a famous personality in here. Will she mind if I shake her hand?”

Mrs Thatcher inspected the production of slippers and soft shoes from the hundreds of original designs to the final fully-packaged product for Marks & Spencers.

The company, Priory Footwear, makes 26,000 shoes and slippers a week.

Production did not stop for the visitor. Without prompting, everyone continued to work as they talked briefly to Mrs Thatcher.

Colleagues burst out laughing as Delia Blot, a machinist for 13 years, mimicked the famous figure before her.

“The girls call me Mrs Thatcher in here because I am always teasing them; telling them to get on with their work,” she said.

“I imitate Mrs Thatcher all the time. So when I saw her in front of me, I spoke to her in her tone of voice.”

Priory Footwear began life as a small family business operating from Kilburn in 1942.

Now it is based on the boundaries of Mrs Thatcher's constituency, in Roman Road, Muswell Hill, and has expanded to employ 140 people.

Before leaving Mrs Thatcher insisted on buying a pair of shoes for her daughter Carol ThatcherCarol.

As the flash of cameras was about to begin again, Mrs Thatcher quickly rearranged the table in front of her, placing pairs of shoes in rows.

“We may as well get your shoes in the picture,” she said to managing director Peter Dolan and chairman Ivan Kidgell.

Then, before she left, the bosses rallied the workers together for a team photograph.

Companies come first

Business success brought warm congratulations from Margaret Thatcher to the staff of two Whetstone-based firms on Friday.

Mrs Thatcher was opening the new offices of Harris Lipman accountants and Mediscript publishing company in Friern Barnet Lane.

“Thatcherism equals success for private enterprise,” she told her audience.

The two companies, she said, were classic examples of what Thatcherism could achieve.

“There is always one condition when a business comes into the constituency.” she joked. “And that is you must succeed.”

On her tour of the offices the Prime Minister met staff and clients of the two companies and heard a tale of success and achievement.

“It has been an incredible nine months for us,” said Barry Lewis, head partner of Harris Lipman.

Mrs Thatcher praised Mediscript for its export record with 80 per cent of turnover going abroad.