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Fears leading charity will close Scotland office

This news post is over 8 years old

​Leading health charity to consult over Scottish closure

Another charity is considering pulling out of Scotland to concentrate its staff in London.

Asthma UK said it will consult on how better to use its funds and is actively looking at shutting national offices to centralise all its operations in England.

It follows a similar announcement last month by the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), which announced plans to transfer staff and services to Action for Blind People, a London headquartered subsidiary of RNIB.

The London office of Asthma UK said changes to the way services were delivered could lead to closures of offices across the UK including Scotland.

Dr Samantha Walker, deputy chief executive at Asthma UK, said: "We are solely funded by donations from our supporters and last year we raised £9.3million to support the 5.4 million people in the UK with asthma through funding medical research, advocating for better care and providing direct advice and support.

We have looked at reducing our estate costs and how digital technology can reach more people

"We have looked at reducing our estate costs and how digital technology can reach more people with asthma throughout the UK.

“From this review, we will continue to invest in nation-specific advocacy programmes, but we propose to change how these are delivered by utilising a wider pool of clinical, analytical and policy experts.

“This may necessitate the closure of our physical offices in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland."

Currently Asthma UK Scotland has a staff of two and works out of a shared office in Edinburgh’s west end after downsizing from its Queen Street premises a year ago.

The move could mean all staff in Scotland would face redundancy.

Some 368,000 Scots currently receive treatment for asthma. Of these, 72,000 are children.

Last year the Edinburgh-based Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research was opened by the charity.

At the time Gordon Brown, director of Asthma UK Scotland, said the centre would "collaborate and not compete" with other organisations in a bid to halt the estimated 89 deaths a year from the condition in Scotland.

However campaigners now fear the move to London will mean treatment and research will be compromised.

Jenny Marra, Labour's health spokesman, said: “It is a pity that Asthma UK is considering closing its Scotland office when health policy is fully devolved to Scotland.”



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over 8 years ago
Why the default that London needs to be their HQ? If they are that worried about estate costs shouldn't they consider moving their HQ to somewhere cheaper, such as, say, Edinburgh? As they say, their digital technology approaches will allow them to reach people across the UK
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