POLITICIANS and activists last night warned Haringey residents to stay vigilant over lingering threats to services at The Whittington Hospital.

North London health chiefs announced this week they were dropping the seven options laid out in the Case for Change document, which could have seen the Archway hospital lose its accident and emergency department.

Stephen Conroy, director of communications for North Central London NHS, confirmed the decision at a public meeting last night, but activists expressed concern that the plans may re-emerge in the future.

Councillor Martin Klute, who chairs Islington Council's health and wellbeing review committee, told the meeting the uncertainty across the NHS has left the door open for the changes to return.

He said: “Government proposals at the moment are disorganised and ill-thought out, no timescales, and a lot of delay.

“With the current state of things, no one really knows what's going on. Goodness knows when we will have any firm plans in place."

Cllr Klute cited a quote from the health trusts describing the Case for Change as “robust” and saying the plans could “evolve” to fit in with Government policy in the future.

He said: “(The Case for Change) is being given continued credibility and the review published on August 11 clearly supports it.

“I think we have to watch that situation and need to be very watchful.”

Mr Conroy tried to ease fears by insisting the seven options were no longer being considered, after Health Secretary Andrew Lansley stepped in and told health bosses to think again, and said any future changes would be based on services rather than which buildings they were delivered in.

He added: “There are no options on the table being planned in secret, and no plans under the table to talk about changes.”

But Monica Schwartz, who spoke on behalf of the voluntary sector in Haringey, Islington, Camden and Enfield, urged hospital users to take the news with caution and said when plans for the NHS are rolled out this autumn, it is important to have local perspective on the impact.

The future of The Whittington has been a long-term concern for patients in Haringey, as well as Islington and Camden, and a large-scale campaign was launched to oppose plans to axe A&E.

The campaign has declared victory for the moment after this week's decision, but meetings are due to continue to monitor developments.

Last night's meeting, organised by Islington MP Jeremy Corbyn at Archway Methodist Church, was the first since the news that the Case for Change had been shelved, but it was clear it would be some time before the long-term future of services at The Whittington Hospital would been absolutely guaranteed.