A DOSSIER of personal stories shedding light on the positive difference the Whittington Hospital's A&E department has made to patients' lives has been submitted to the health minister.

The collection of more than 200 real-life stories was handed to Mike O'Brien by Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone in a bid to save the department from being closure under a radical plan for healthcare in north London.

Her efforts to save the Archway hospital's emergency department are now being backed by party leader Nick Clegg.

Mr Clegg, leader of the Lib Dems, said: "I support the campaign to save Whittington A&E. Decisions about local services should be taken by locally accountable bodies.

"I would not let North London Central NHS close this A&E. I oppose all proposals made by unaccountable bureaucrats which threaten local services."

Ms Featherstone thanked residents for coming to her with their "personal and moving stories".

She said: "I feel we've made a powerful case for why the Whittington needs to stay open.

"The many intimate and touching stories really help show why having a hospital close-by is so vital.

"Many residents praise the hard working staff at the Whittington, who have helped them deal with really difficult and life-altering situations.

"I hope this will help tip the balance, and send a strong message to the Government from the people of Hornsey and Wood Green – hands off our A&E."

Under the four-year North Central London Strategy Plan, hospitals in Haringey, Enfield, Barnet, Islington and Camden will be reconfigured to make either specialist centres, centres of excellence or 24-hour urgent care centres, in line with Lord Darzi's Future of Healthcare vision.

The overhaul, NHS bosses have said, will mean better health care for patients and would also help avoid a budget deficit of between £640 and £860 million by 2015.

Of the seven scenarios being proposed, four of them involve reducing the opening hours of The Whittington's A&E department — or closing it down completely.