Camden and Westminster councils appeal for volunteers as they announce some services need to change

Stay at home.

The leaders of both local councils serving Fitzrovia have appealed for volunteers and have announced that many services they offer will need to change in response the the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. Cllr Rachael Robathan, leader, Westminster City Council, wrote to community organisations to say: "We have contingency plans in place to keep essential services running …

Women’s group gather evidence for ‘safe zone’ around Whitfield Street health centre

Man standing outside women's clinic.

A group campaigning for an end to the harassment of pregnant people outside abortion clinics nationwide is gathering evidence in order to create a safe zone around a health centre in Whitfield Street, Fitzrovia. Many residents and workers in Fitzrovia would have noticed the sometimes large numbers of people holding a "vigil" opposite the Central …

Busy Soho walk-in health centre under threat of closure

Front of NHS walk in clinic.

A busy health clinic used by tens of thousands of local residents, workers and visitors to the West End every year will have to close unless changes to the way it operates can be made, say NHS managers. The Central London Clinical Commissioning Group are proposing to close the Walk In centre in Soho Square …

Dear Marie Stopes: ‘birth-control opera’ returns as a powerful melodic reminder

Opera cast.

‘Please help me!’ This heart-breaking refrain from Alex Mills’ chamber opera Dear Marie Stopes is drawn from the thousands of letters which Stopes received after her sex manual Married Love was published in 1918. The opera had its stunning premier last year at the Wellcome Collection (reviewed in FN, Sept 2018), and was completely sold …

New plans for mental health services in Camden and Islington

Front of building with sign.

Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust are consulting on plans to change mental health services and build a new hospital and community health hubs, a project to be partly funded by the sale of a property at Tottenham Mews in Fitzrovia. The consultation is seeking the public's views on moving patient beds from St Pancras …

‘Get checked during HIV testing week’ says NHS

Part of HIV testing awareness poster.

This week is National HIV Testing Week and the NHS is encouraging people to take a simple test to prevent the spread of HIV. Free, quick and confidential HIV testing is available in Camden and Westminster, or you can order free home test kits. In central London call 020 3317 5252 or go to cnwl.nhs.uk/services/sexual-health-hiv/ …

Wahaca shuts both its Fitzrovia restaurants after suspected norovirus outbreak

Poster in window.

The Mexican street-food chain Wahaca has temporarily closed both of its Fitzrovia restaurants following reports of a norovirus outbreak that has hit many of its outlets across London. The London Evening Standard reported that restaurants in Covent Garden, Oxford Circus, Soho, Canary Wharf and Westfield Shepherd’s Bush, are shut due to what are described as …

Old age and immunology open day at UCL

UCL logo

In July University College London (UCL) will host an open day where local residents will have the chance to hear about the latest research on aging. A number of scientists at UCL are investigating how our immune system alters with old age, with the aim of preventing or reducing illness in the older population. Residents are invited to see posters and …

Caterpillars of the oak processionary moth could be damaging oak trees in central London says Forestry Commission

Caterpillars in oak tree.

The Forestry Commission is asking the public in Camden and Westminster to report sightings of a particular caterpillar which is a threat to oak trees and can be a hazard to people and animals. The oak processionary moth (Thaumetopoea processionea, OPM) is a native of southern Europe, where local environmental factors and predators keep its populations in …

Patients group meet to discuss future of Soho doctors’ surgery

Front of medical centre.

Patients and their carers are invited to a meeting to discuss the future of the Soho Square General Practice at the surgery next week. Last year the doctors' surgery was threatened with closure but despite a temporary reprieve the future of the service remains uncertain. The practice is particularly important for the Chinese community and …

Buffer zones around abortion clinics are needed says councillor

Marie Stopes blue plaque.

A local councillor has backed Labour's call for new laws to stop women being intimidated and harassed outside birth control clinics by US-styled anti-abortion protesters. Adam Harrison, who has been a Camden Labour councillor since 2010, writes in Progress magazine in response to an announcement by shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper MP who is calling on the government to …

Local councils’ community alarm service enables people at-risk to get help in an emergency

Camden poster.

Local councils provide a community alarm service to help residents in Fitzrovia to live independently and safely. Camden Council provides a community alarm service called Careline Telecare. It is a paid-for service that provides equipment that enables at-risk people in the borough to get help quickly in an emergency. "Most of the people Careline Telecare …

Vape bar offers alternative to smoking, but where is the regulation?

Shop window.

Smoking rates in the UK have halved since the 1970s but now more than 2 million people are inhaling in a different way. A vape bar and lounge has opened in Fitzrovia selling "E liquids" for use with electronic cigarettes and offers customers to taste the products before buying. The owner claims that E cigarettes have no …

NHS England says services at Soho Square General Practice will continue and be re-procured

Front of medical centre.

Soho Square General Practice which was threatened with closure at the end of September will now remain open. NHS England has written to patients saying the surgery will continue to operate with existing GPs and staff, but that the service will be re-procured and a new provider will take over in the future. The reprieve for the surgery comes …

Private laboratory in Fitzrovia drains blood from NHS hospitals

By News Reporters A private laboratory in Whitfield Street, Fitzrovia, is about to take control of the pathology service overseeing blood tests at the Royal Free and University College London hospitals, reports Tom Foot in this week's Camden New Journal. The Doctors Laboratory who are also founder members of The Fitzrovia Partnership Business Improvement Disctrict (BID) …

Councils take charge of public health while their pension funds invest in tobacco

By News Reporters This month local authorities take over responsibility for a multi-billion pound public health budget as part of the government's Health and Social Care Act 2012. Camden Council and Westminster City Council now have new responsibilities for public health, yet both local authorities' pension funds collectively still invest over £40m in the tobacco industry. …

“Carnival of Choice” in Bedford Square meets the return of American-styled anti-abortionists

By News Reporters Prayer vigil versus counter demo returns this week as the American-styled 40 Days for Life group and local pro-choice activists face each other outside the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) in Bedford Square. During the course of Lent, Bloomsbury Pro-Choice will be holding a counter-campaign, beginning with Carnival of Choice 7pm on …