Archive for June, 2013

Meeting with hospital board called off

June 21st, 2013 No comments

We spent several weeks in talks with the Whittington management to arrange a meeting to hear what their latest five-year plan for the hospital will say.

We wanted the meeting – scheduled for Monday 3 June – to include as many staff and local residents as possible so that everyone would be given an opportunity to raise concerns about the direction the hospital was taking.

Previously we had submitted a list of questions about the board’s plans, and our understanding was that a purpose of the meeting was to provide some answers.

In the end, we could not agree to the set-up the management insisted on for the meeting, which would not have included a general discussion, but would have just been a management “presentation”, followed by a “breakout” session with participants separated into groups.

We felt that this was an inappropriate format, which did not allow scope for staff and residents to express their fears – and that the “breakout” session could be used to exert undue pressure on participants. We told the board that unless the set-up was changed, we would not be able to attend.

On the eve of the meeting, Joe Liddane, chair of the Whittington board, sent out a pdf of the presentation that would have been shown at the meeting. Called “Transforming healthcare for tomorrow”, and dated 5 April 2013, it says many good things about the hospital – and lists a number of achievements of which the hospital and its staff can be proud.

But what the document does not give is any detail about the selling off of buildings, reductions in the number of beds or staff redundancies. So it does not answer any of our major questions and if the meeting had gone ahead it would have achieved little.

It is great to see so many achievements listed, but what we would like to know is what will happen to them if hospital functions are reduced in the way the document suggests. If cuts and privatisation are involved, that cannot be good for us and our hospital. We still need a meeting with the board to get some assurance that this will not happen.

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Response to Islington Gazette article, June 2013

June 18th, 2013 1 comment

In response to Gazette June article:

Dear Sir/Madam,

Your article about our abortive attempts to meet publicly with the Governors of Whittington Hospital is misleading.
We did not “boycott” this meeting. We believed that the format insisted upon by Joe Liddane would not have provided a suitable listening opportunity.

We represent thousands of the Whittington community who are opposed to reductions and sell-offs at the hospital. This meeting would only have informed us in very general terms. Joe Liddane assured me that we would be provided with statistics concerning buildings to be sold, jobs to go and bed/ward closures. The powerpoint that would have been used in the meeting did not have this information and failed to answer our questions. Instead there were welcome pages of how well the hospital has done , but mostly pages of generalisations under trendy slogans.

some of the information it did have was disturbing. There are now additional proposals to reduce Accident and Emergency admissions, to reduce re-admissions, to reduce outpatient attendances and to reduce community services. We cannot support our Hospital’s Board in making decisions that reduce provision for our health needs, particularly at a time where demand is increasing and social care is being radically cut.

Furthermore, in response to the Chief Executive’s letter, we do not believe that the Hospital has listened or responded to our concerns. The appointment of an expensive private consultancy firm to be responsible for delivering our health provision, the costs of which she will not divulge, is socially irresponsible. The public have the right to know how much this is costing. The hospital have previously hired Unipart, a former car parts firm costing 1.2 million, who have made appallingly bad decisions in cutting 570 jobs, promoting the sell-off of buildings and services, and radically changing- mechanising- the way the Hospital is administered.

We need a hospital that shows that it listens to us, that responsibly pays health moneys into our NHS services, not into the pockets of shareholders. We need our Whittington Hospital to value its staff and patients and to provide a full service to meet the wide range of health needs in our area.

Shirley Franklin
Chair, Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition

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Minutes 20 May 2013

June 5th, 2013 No comments

Planning Meeting

Archway Methodist Church

7.00 – 9.00 pm Monday 3rd June 2013


1.  Introductions and apologies

2.  Minutes of last meeting

3.  Matters arising

4.  Campaign Update – Meeting with the Board, Whitt news, stalls, meetings, demos

5.  Stalls

6.  Other campaigns

7.  Future activities

Minutes 20th May 2013

Place: Archway Methodist Church

Time: 19:00 – 21.00

Chair: Jan Pollock

Minutes: Mike Hart

Apologies:  SF, GH

1)  Matters Arising It was noted that Shirley’s last letter had been published in the Tribune and one will be printed in the Guardian tomorrow.

Reports form 18th May Demonstration A billiant contingent of residents and hospital workers turned up to go to the demo together. There were about 7,000 people on the demo.


There were a few problems: : people who could not find the march due to the point of assembly having to be moved.  This was due to the police not allowing us to assemble in Jubilee Gardens as advertised.  Others could not hear the speakers from the back of the crowd.  This was also to do with the point of assembly as the actual assembly point forced the crowd into a long thin shape.

Unison is the main union in the Whittington but the leadership has not supported either the demonstration or the campaign.  However there were Unison members and banners on the march.

Jeremy Corbyn and Andy Slaughter both spoke.

Coverage from the BBC was minimal.  It was shown once on the National News and then dropped and was also shown on local news.

It was felt that the singing and music had added a great deal to the excitement of the event.  Choirs included Raised Voices, Strawberry Thieves, Red and Green and some others.

3)  Updates Maria Da Silva the Chief Operating Officer for the Whittington and the person responsible for bringing in Unipart is leaving.  It was suggested that it may be because the project is a mess and she wants to ‘jump ship’ before any crisis.

There are also a couple of people leaving from the HR department, and there is a new senior communications officer.

A diabetics Doctor is about to made redundant.  This is a disaster as the number of cases of diabetes is rising.

Ernst & Young (E&Y) have been appointed by the Whittington to try and rescue their application for Foundation Trust status.  E&Y are the accountancy firm that gave Lehman Brothers a clean bill of health three days before it crashed.  They charge £4,000.00 per day for consultants.

Joe Liddane was previously an employee of E&Y.  Also the previous Chair of the Board was sacked by Peter Farmer who was also previously employed by E&Y.  We had found out about this from a report in the Tribune by Tom Foot and by researching on the internet.

It was pointed out that Unipart was still active in the hospital although many of their changes are being run by staff.  The cost was £500,000.00 for a one off plan.  It was reported by people working in the hospital that when staff try and implement the plan it doesn’t work.

Action: Ask the board how much E&Y are costing.  If the board are not forthcoming then make an FOI request.

Action: Ask the board was the chair involved in the decision to appoint E&Y?

There was a discussion about whether we could see the minutes where the decision was made to appoint E&Y.  As the minutes are online, it may not be necessary to ask the board for them.

Action:  L to see if the minutes are online.

4)  Meeting the Board After the board claimed we would not meet them and we said we would, negotiations have been taking place with the board.  Jo Liddane sees the meeting as ‘his’. He wants to control the agenda.  He is insisting on no more than 100 people.  This will include staff and MPs as well as reps from us.  He also wants to split us into focus groups.

Jeremy Corbyn and us  do not want any focus groups, no intimidation of staff. The agenda should not be set by JL.

It is not known where the meeting is to be held, after some discussion it was suggested that we should ask to have the meeting at the Methodist Hall.

It was also felt to be important that the board did not chair the meeting.

There was some discussion about our media response.  It was felt that we should have a press release and do interviews about the meeting.

It was also noted that there is a rumour that the government may have to drop its requirement that all hospitals become Foundation Trusts.

If we can get the story of our campaign out to a wider public it will inspire others.

Action: JS & JP to build contacts with the press

We will not be allowed to video the meeting, but we should try and get as much on record as possible.

It was suggested that we try to keep a steady stream of letters so that the topic of the Whittington does not go away.

Action: L & JP to monitor and encourage letters

5)  Social The discussion suggested that Jackson’s Lane Community Centre might be too small as it only holds about 300 people, so another venue should be sought.

It was suggested that the social include a video booth.

Action: DK to be approached to do this.

The social should be a fund raiser and we should approach local celebs to see if they will join in.  Graham Norton was suggested.

Action: MH & VL to work up a proposal and bring it to the next meeting.

6)  Burn Out Most of the work of organising DWHC and especially the recent slew of protests has fallen on Shirley with sterling support Jem.  Jem feels exhausted.  The meeting was very concerned to support and take some of the load off the shoulders of both of them.

It was suggested that an admin meeting be called and that as much as possible, people should be given defined roles.  It was also suggested that a co-ordination group be set up so that we can develop a strategy.  This would entail looking at what needs doing, but also what is not worth doing, so that we have an actionable plan.

Also use should be made of sub-committees for given tasks.

The Admin meeting was set for 4th June at the Methodist Hall 7:00

The date of the next meeting was left undecided.

7)  Visit to Whittington RM reported back from a tour of the Whittington.  The Waterloo building is not being sold off.  To refurbish the nurses’ accommodation would cost £1.4 million.  A second MRI scanner is to be purchased and the department developed.  There is a building at the top of Highgate Hill that is falling apart and should be sold.  There is a cap of 92,000 set for the A&E by either the government or the CCG.

8)  Events


KONP/SOH LONDON MEETING WEDNESDAY 12 JUNE 3:00pm Unite House, 128 Theobalds Rd, WC1


Anniversary of NHS Day of Action 5th July

9)  The meeting closed.  Next meeting TBA.

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