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Response to Islington Gazette article, June 2013

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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