A victory, but now the fight goes on…
Last year’s victory against the threat of ward closures and job cuts showed what could be achieved when local people – residents, patients, hospital staff, trade unions, politicians and a number of concerned local celebs – came out to defend our hospital.
We were told that plans for huge cutbacks in services would be scrapped and a new strategy put in place to guarantee our hospital’s future.
Now that guarantee looks increasingly worthless, as the hospital management sets out to renew its bid for foundation trust status.
Steve Hitchins, the newly appointed head of the management board, has already announced a drastic need for savings. He also, worryingly, said that it may no longer be viable for the Whittington to remain as a district hospital – which is what last year’s fight was about in the first place.
He also recently declared enthusiastic support for the government’s health service “reforms”. Let us not forget that these “reforms” involve massive cuts to the NHS budget and increasing privatisation – packaging large parts of our health service up and selling them off to private companies who will cut care provision and jobs in a bid to boost profits.
Do we want the Whittington to just become a glorified health centre? Join our campaign to keep our local hospital and oppose these threats before it is too late.
For more details about the progress of the campaign, and a list of future actions, visit the “Meetings and events” section of the website.
Shock resignation of chief executive
The sudden departure of Whittington chief executive Dr Yi Mien Koh in mid-March completes the exodus of senior managers behind the disastrous 2012 plan to close wards and sell buildings that began with the resignation of board chairman Joe Liddane after the massive public outcry in 2013.
But, while board vacancies are being filled – former South Tees hospital boss Simon Pleydell, who faced opposition in that role, will be taking over from Dr Koh – our hospital still isn’t safe. Millions of pounds are being cut from the budget as a result of the government’s squeeze on NHS funding, and services at the hospital are being “reconfigured” to put more emphasis on care at home. So everyone is urged to continue the fight.
Full media coverage here
People’s Inquiry warns of danger to London hospitals
The People’s Inquiry into London’s NHS completed its information-gathering stage in Lewisham Hospital on December 6, having held seven public hearings in different parts of London, and received evidence from around 100 people, including DWHC.
The six-person panel, which included Roy Lilley and the Guardian’s Polly Toynbee, has now published its report, which makes grim reading for defenders of London hospitals under threat of closures.
But the authors of the report say there are ways out of this mess. Their aim in highlighting the current crisis is to open up debate and discussion on NHS policy in the run-up to the next general election, and pin the blame firmly on the government.
The outcome of that election could decide whether our health service survives. London NHS services ‘unravelling’ - BBC News
Read the panel’s recommendations here