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.