Archive for May, 2013

Campaigners message to Downing Street, 18 May 2013

May 18th, 2013 No comments

DWHC activists at the head of the march on Downing Street

Thousands of marchers converged on Whitehall on Saturday 18 May in a big demonstration of support for the Defend London’s NHS campaign.

Many of us from the Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition were at the head of the march, which brought together campaigners from across London, as it set off from the South Bank to Downing Street. Our Shirley Franklin, chair of DWHC, told the marchers what had been happening at the Whittington just before the start. See the video here.

The rally in Whitehall was addressed by Camden Keep Our NHS Public chair Candy Udwin, and Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn, before a letter was handed in to 10 Downing Street saying that the closure of nine A&E units across London, a number of maternity units and thousands of hospital beds will put Londoners’ lives at risk.

The letter said: “We support a National Health Service which is publicly funded, publicly delivered and publicly accountable, delivering care according to need and free at the time of access, to everyone irrespective of personal wealth.

“We are calling on the Prime Minister for an immediate end to the closures and privatisation threats to London’s NHS.”

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Questions for the board to answer

May 16th, 2013 No comments

Questions for the Board of the Whittington Hospital

  1. What is the deadline for the Foundation Trust application?
  2. When will you be presenting the application to the Board?
  3. In the April edition of Board Matters you describe the Trust as having a healthy surplus. Why, therefore are you making cuts to our Hospital?
  4. In a previous document, you claim that the surplus is due to savings through “efficiencies”. What have you already cut to achieve savings?
  5. Why did the Board not resign when the Budget was cut showing their commitment to a fully-funded hospital, since this cut disabled the full functioning of our local hospital?
  6. What is the cost of the Board’s Open days and “Discussion” evenings to promote the sell-off plans?
    1. Has the Board developed a model for transference of hospital to community care?
    2. How is the Transforming the Patient Experience going to benefit patients?
    3. How is the Patient Pathway Co-ordinator role going to benefit patients, given the criticisms in The Francis Report of inadequate patient engagement with staff.
      1. When will the TPE be implemented?
      2. What are the detailed plans to place hospital services into clinics?
      3. The buildings for sale have to be used for health purposes. Does the Board have any concerns about their purchase and use by health providers?
      4. Care in the Community is inefficient in that it takes up more, rather than less, staff time. How can the proposals for Care in the Community take place without an increased quota of nursing staff?
      5. In what ways does the Board consider that it has consulted with the Whittington Community?
      6. What opinions of the sell-off plans has the Board heard from the community, and which ones will they consider in current Foundation Trust plans?
      7. Who commissioned Dictate-IT to work in the Hospital?
      8. How does the use of Dictate-IT guarantee accuracy and safety in patient record-keeping?
      9. Why are senior managers leaving the Hospital? Does this reflect any changes in plans? This is of concern, given that one of them was responsible for the Unipart engagement in the sell-off plans.
      10. Why is the employment treatment of staff so very poor, and a culture of fear and intimidation by sections of management being allowed to develop? This has an impact on staff morale and in the trust of patients and staff in care management at the Hospital.
      11. Changes seem to be occurring without consultation or knowledge of the staff or patients. There is a serious lack of transparency and communication, creating fear, frustration and mistrust inside and outside the Hospital.  How are you going to address the lack of management transparency?

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Planning meeting 22-04-2013

May 15th, 2013 No comments

Planning Meeting

Minutes 22nd April 2013

Place: Archway Methodist Church

Time: 19:00 – 21.00

Chair: Shirley Franklin

Minutes: Mike Hart

Apologies: RM, VL, DK, DE, DN, TM

1)      Shirley reported having received an email from Joe Liddane.  He would like a meeting with us.  We need some questions for the Board of Directors.  She further reported that two key people had left the Whittington, one of whom is thought to have brought in Unipart. Unipart is encouraging the Hospital itself as‘the hospital at home’ (ie care in the community).  There is to be a new Head of Communications.

2)      A discussion ensued about what is to happen to the land to be sold off by the trust.  It was noted that the Whittington had increased its tariff in order to reduce the number of patients (and thereby justify closures).  It was pointed out that the hospital will not be able to do ‘care in the community’ if they keep (as they are doing) laying off nurses.  Home care takes up more nurses’ time, not less

3)      A number of questions for the Board of the Whittington were raised and documented.  These have been circulated.

4)      A number of activities for the ‘Day of Action’ were discussed, including leafleting  St. John’s Way Surgery, St. Anne’s Hospital, Laurels Surgery, Broadwater Farm, Stroud Green Primary, Goodinge Health Centre, London Met Uni  a number of pharmacies and of course the Whittington itself.

5)      Some discussion ensued over leafleting Islington 6th Form College with some members suggesting that young people were not interested in the NHS.  The NUS had, it was pointed out, run a campaign against ATOS. It was still felt that someone should leaflet City & Islington College and contact the NUS and Medsin ( if you want to know more).  It was suggested that we try to engage young people more in our campaign, developing an awraeness of the NHS and threats to it.

6)      Speakers for the day of action included: Natalie Bennett, National Leader of the Green Party, Dot Gibson (National Pensioner’s Convention) Jane Shalice (Stop the War) Jan Pollock, Frank Wood (Unite), Emily Thornberry (MP)

7)      An article in the Islington Tribune showing that Andrew Mitchell (Plebgate) has shares in ‘DictateIt’ used by the Whittington (resulting in job losses).  His wife Dr Bennett is on the CCG and influential with the hospital.  The GGC has also approved the Whittington’s closure plans.  (Do I hear the sound of backs being scratched?)

8)      Notices

Enfield Alliance Against Cuts.  8th May ‘Spirit of ‘45’ 7pm West Green Learning Centre N17

9)      Next Meeting The next meeting was scheduled for 6th May.  This meeting will be an admin meeting .

The meeting closed.

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Planning meeting 08-04-2013

May 15th, 2013 No comments

DWHC Planning Meeting

7.00 pm Monday 8th April 2013

Archway Methodist Hall, Archway Close

1] Intros & welcome by the Chair

2] Apols: JL, GH, RM, AS, PZ, JC, TS, ET, RW, DK, V, BF, MG (for lateness), MS, LF

3] Mins of  Mtg on 25.03.13 Agreed

4] Matters Arising: including Chair’s Up-date Time-&-Motion Study exercises still on-going @ Whittington. Shirley contacted Deborah Goodhart  (Bd of Directors) to request their Powerpoint presentation – informed there weren’t any. Bd of Ds still juggling with figures for no. of beds/staff, etc. Bd has “Patient Pathway Co-ordinators” instead of dealing with Med. Secs’ jobs. Bd is “Transforming the Patient Experience”.  Some patients sent home too early – care by private agencies staff – lower paid & no NHS contract.

Foundation Trust (F.T) applic. Turned down (on what grds?)They’ll re-submit (round June?) [all hosps must become F.Ts by 2014 says Gvt]. If turned down again, Whitt cld come under mgt by another Foundt’n Trust (F.T) Our campaign’s view re gvt of Whitt. discussed. Agreed  – there are a range of views. But all activists all agreed on need for a functioning hospital with A&E, Maternity, academic and full range of other depts. And need for democratic consultation N.B Even the Hosp. Governors were not forewarned of “Estates Strategy”! [the huge cuts & sell-off]

March Bd of Ds Mtg attended by dwhc activists. Still no agt by Bd of Ds to withdraw their plan.

5] Future Activities May 18th All Hospitals London Demo –assemble Jubilee Gdns (cards available) Cat mask also available at Whittington Ctty Centre, Yerbury Rd, N19

6] Day of Action  24th April Photos of all activities – please send to dwhc! Chair asked attenders of their planned activities at work and elsewhere. Let us know your plans

GP surgeries a.m. include: Dr Battle’s surgery: Shirley et al.

St John’s Way, N19: Jan et al  9.30-10.30am

Caversham: Margaret Scott et al. (Margaret can do signing for dwhc)

2 GP surgeries, Stroud Grn Rd: Steve & Rosie

Let us know which surgery you want to leaflet

Leafletting schools/colls/universities Belmont Sch + adjacent High Sch Lynn F

London Met Univ. Hilary  – lfletting in advance of 24th

Strolling Singers: Neil and L  Meet Lauderdale House café just after  12 on 24th Apr

Medical students @ Highgate Wing ?

TUs/Wkplaces Mick & Gary

Particular Rds/places Holly Rd. – Saskia

Help with publicity Tony

Hunt for Hunt Susan P (date?)

Others volunteered to attend Bd of Dirs’ “Discussion Mtgs”

7] Need to find another venue for resources other than Yerbury Rd  Where?

8] Stalls at Nags Head Saturdays  13th Apr,  20th Apr   volunteers?

Finsbury Pk. Tube  19th Apr      Other venues? Send yours in

For times/venues of leafletting see website All volunteers are welcome

9] Spokespeople so far: Shirley, Steve, Jan

10] Next Meeting: Monday 22nd April 2013

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Planning meeting 25-03-2013

May 15th, 2013 No comments


Archway Methodist Hall, Archway Close

Minutes 25th March 2013

Time: 19:00 – 21.00

Chair: Shirley Franklin

Minutes: Mike Hart

Apologies: JC, TS, RM, PZ, SB

1)      Situation Regarding Cuts: It was pointed out that Haringey Pensioners had been told that there were only 60 beds being cut, bringing the number of beds down to 177.  Shirley pointed out that the board do not announce bed cuts.  The Whittington website says that there are 420 beds and MPs  and the Tribune were also told this, so it may be that they have already cut some beds.

It was also pointed out that the plan is to send people home early and have them looked after at home.  This service is a privatised one, as is audiology.

2)      Feedback from the demonstration: There were about 5,000 people that turned out on a rainy day,. It seemed to be the same or more than last time.  Many passers-by and passing cars showed support.

It was reported that Haringey Schools were very supportive and that schools should be approached in future.

It was generally agreed that there was a good mix of speakers and that the length of speeches was appropriate.

It was suggested that the demonstration could have been more vocal and that stewards encouraged to use more chants to mobilise marchers.

Thanks were expressed for the efforts of Mick, Steve and Rosie, and to the staff at The Whittington Park Community Centre, Ann and Joanne, for their support in stocking leaflets and petitions.

It was pointed out that we need to get more hospital staff involved.

45,000 leaflets were distributed.

3)      Further Actions: It was pointed out that the ‘Discussion meetings’ run by the Board to put across its version of the plan had been drawing sizable numbers.  Fifty people at one meeting.   It was felt to be important that we turn up at these meetings with leaflets and also intervene to counter the board’s arguments.   In particular a factsheet should be produced and we should be suggesting alternatives to the board’s plans.

ACTION: produce a factsheet

ACTION: produce an alternative plan

4)      Day of Action: As a continuation of the lobbying of the board meetings it was suggested that we have a ‘day of action’, with activities on the morning of 24th April culminating in lobby of the board meeting scheduled for that day.

As well as lobbying the Board, the Day of Action should be seen as part of a campaign to build support for the demonstration on 18th May.  Activities are to include wearing cat masks, getting people to sign petitions, leafleting , visiting local surgeries.

Leaflets will be available, as usual from the Whittington Community Centre on Yerbury Rd.

Mick suggested that we produce a leaflet to expose the actions of Unipart who have implemented time and motion studies, bullied staff and designed the cuts in staff numbers.

A discussion ensued about whether to invite Lynne Featherstone to speak on the day.  There was some opposition but the consensus was that inviting her to speak would be giving her rope with which to hang herself.

ACTION:  everyone.  Think of actions for the day of action.

Ed Miliband is a local resident.  Although he declined to come and speak last time, it was felt to be worthwhile asking him again.

A call was made for someone who would be prepared to dress up as a cat.

It was felt that there should be more contact with other local groups, including DWHC sending speakers to explain the situation to other groups.

ACTION:  Dan to organise a list of local groups and contact them.

5)      Other Matters: A couple of Legal firms had offered to mount a legal challenge to the Whittington Board’s plans.  The firms are Lee Day and a Ms Irwin from Irwin Mitchell solicitors..  The person actually challenging the board needs to be someone on benefit, in order to get legal aid.

ACTION: find someone who will do the above.

It was announced that Chase Farm would be closing in the next few days.

Someone asked if we could obtain the Powerpoints that the Board have used for presentations.

ACTION: Shirley to ask the Hospital’s Head of Communications Deborah Goodhart for the Powerpoints.

It was noted that the Hospital had increased its tariffs in order to dissuade local GPs from using them, presumably in an attempt to justify cuts.

A vote was taken over whether we should place a May Day advert in Socialist Worker.  The motion was defeated with 5 votes for and 6 against.

After some discussion, the following motion was carried: This meeting of dwhc does not accept that immigrants are burden on the NHS or other public services. On the contrary immigrant workers have played a vital role since the NHS was set up in 1945. We condemn Prime Minister Cameron’s attempts to divide us by scapegoating immigrants and turning our attention away from the destruction his austerity and privatisation policies are causing to our hospitals.

There were 23 votes for the motion 2 against and 1 abstention.

6)  The meeting closed.  Next meeting 8th April, 7pm at Archway Methodist Church Hall.

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