Archive for July, 2013

Minutes 8 July 2013

July 27th, 2013 No comments

Minutes 7th July 2013

Place: Archway Methodist Church

Time: 19:00 – 21.00

Chair: Shirley Franklin

Minutes: Mike Hart

Apologies:  Nicole

1)  Previous minutes were approved.

2)  Matters arising: It was asked if the board had ever replied to our list of questions.  Shirley had written to the board and had a reply saying that a full reply would be forthcoming, but nothing has arrived.  Shirley will chase.

There have been significant management changes.  Joe Liddane, Chair of the Board is on ‘parental leave” until the end of August 2013 and  Robert Aitkin is now Acting Chair.  There is a new head of HR and a new communications director.

3)  Developments at the Whittington.

The FT application process was at a crucial juncture. The board’s new plan was being publicised. The press were to be informed the day following the planning meeting. The MPs had been briefed and Jeremy Corbyn had just contacted Shirley to inform her of the key points:

There was to be no job or bed loss. Two more buildings – Jenner and education – were being retained. JC had expressed concern regarding the nurses’ accommodation since the alternative at Sussex Way was already being used by nurses at other hospitals.

There was some discussion about the meaning of ‘no job losses’. There are also large numbers of agency staff, who, if they lost their jobs would not figure in the calculations (they are not employees).  Many of the jobs done by agency staff were once done by permanent staff.

It seems that anyone whose job goes, will be offered three alternatives which are not always at the same grade level or in similar work.

The main concern for us is that the Whittington should remain a General District Hospital, and it would appear, prima facie that this is the plan, however there are still a number of concerns.

Concern was expressed about the early discharge programme, which Greg Battle had outlined at the Camden Scrutiny Meeting. There are many vulnerable patients in the area. There is inadequate social care provided for people convalescing and there are not enough district nurses.

At the moment elderly patients are frequently being sent home between 11:00pm – 7:00am.  This is obviously completely inappropriate.  It is not clear from the plan that this will stop.  This is happening despite the fact that the area has a very high rate of people who die alone in their homes.

Regarding bed losses, it was pointed out that two wards are being used as offices, so there must have been some bed losses.

Also the hospital will have a new Day Treatment Centre in November

A press conference had been called for 9:30am in the Education Centre.  The BBC and ITV had asked Shirley for interviews the next day between 9.30 and 10.00.

4)  Setting up a Strategy Group

There was  a discussion about having smaller groups to discuss strategy. Tricia proposed that we set up a strategy group that she felt would create a space where ‘meta’ level thinking could take place.  She felt that this sort of thinking was not done in the full group meetings.  The strategy group could, for instance recommend a ‘patient group’ that would think about liaising with patients, a worker group for the hospital workers etc. Others argued that setting up separate groups could be divisive. It was pointed out that the broad strategy – and DWHC’s constitution and aims – were already on the website. Shirley suggested that this could be a useful subject for discussion at the December AGM.

5)  St Anne’s Hospital David explained that he and others had set up a new group to defend St Anne’s hospital (Haringey’s only hospital).  This includes approving a plan for the Whittington to take over some services. He was aske to inform us abut this by email so that this information could go on our website.

6)  Camden Health Scrutiny Committee Shirley and tony went to the meeting of this committee.  The upshot of the meeting is that Camden are to mount an enquiry into Harmoni. There was also a presentation about the Whittington plans at this committee.

7)  Board Meeting A few members went to the Whittington Board meeting.  Shirley asked that if people attend meetings they should email any reports immediately as she is often contacted by the press and needs to be up-to-date as to what’s going on.

Members wore masks but did not interrupt the proceedings.  In the aftermath some of the board were quite rude to the attendees.

8)  Events

There is a meeting of Healthwatch where the Whittington is giving a presentation (17th July Holloway Resource Centre).  Rod volunteered to attend.

There is also a meeting of the Joint Scrutiny Committee.  Valerie and Jan volunteered to attend.

Next meeting was set for Monday 22nd July

9)  Meeting Closed at 9.30.

Signed                               date

Chair of DWHC

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Minutes 24 June 2013

July 27th, 2013 No comments

Planning Meeting of DWHC at Archway Methodist Church hall,

Monday 8th July 7.00 – 9.00 pm


  1. Introductions and apologies
  2. Minutes and matters arising
  3. Brief Update
  4. Our strategy – going forward
  5. Future Events: Monday 15th July London KONP , Camden Town Hall

Healthwatch 17/7, Joint Scrutiny Committee, 19/7

24th July Board Meeting

September Public Meeting

29th September Demonstration

December Social

  1. AOB

Minutes 24th June 2013, 19.00 – 2100 at Archway Methodist Church

Chair: Shirley Franklin, Minutes: Mike Hart       Apologies:  Rod Mick Rosie Francis

1)       Minutes of the previous meeting

2)       Reports A stall had been held on ‘The Big Day Out’ in Whittington Park.  People on the stall had spoken to a lot of visitors and had a very positive response.

A contingent went on the firefighter’s march, where Shirley spoke.

Some people had gone on the ‘Hunt for Hunt’ demo.  It was raining and that limited the effect to some extent.  Some of the coaches had only been half full.  Still there was a very positive response from the people in Hunt’s constituency, who are much less keen on privatising the NHS than he is.

The march called by Unite, GMB and Unison for the 29th September outside the Tory Party conference was mentioned.  Transport will be going from London.

The People’s Assembly was packed and there was lots of lively discussion.  Wendy Savage had spoken at the quite vociferous health section meeting.

3)       Review and Assessment Shirley briefly recapped on our activities since the introduction of the White Paper that preceded the Health & Social Care Bill.  The White Paper (and the subsequent act) forces all hospitals to become Foundation Trusts by 2014.  Foundation Trusts are run independently (sort of) of the government and are run like businesses so they fit the new marketised model.

Unipart, the car parts firm, had been contracted by the board  for £500,000 to help restructure the hospital.  This had resulted in job losses and reduced service.  Many of the hospital’s functions (eg IT, printing) have been privatised. Especially the scheme for looking after patients ‘in the community’, is run by a private company.

There is still a plan to reduce services and beds and turn the hospital into a Foundation Trust.

DWHC had had a very successful public meeting, organised a demonstration and had had a day of action as well as some lobbying of the board, stalls and petitions.

4)       Current Situation Better Archway had issued a questionnaire asking about selling off buildings.  It the buildings are sold teaching will probably go and the money will go with it.  It will also result in a lowering of standards. The loss of teaching could well presage the eventual closure or downgrading of the Whittington.

It was suggested that people write to the local papers to object to any closure of the teaching departments.  It is also useful to leave comments on the website.

Jan suggested that we produce a letter for outpatients to hand to the board.  This was approved.


The board had not replied to our questions.  Shirley agreed to chase them.

ACTION: Shirley

It was agreed that as many people as possible should turn up at ICCGs Patient meetings.  There are two layers.  Each surgery has a Patient Participation group and the CCG runs ‘Pan Islington’ groups.

5)       Board Meeting 26th June It was agreed that our presence should be small (4-5 people) and that we should wear surgical masks to show we are being silenced.

The board has to respond to the Francis report, so they are they are consulting a bit with staff.

6)       65th Birthday of NHS A Unite rep present at the meeting offered funding for a party and it was agreed that we would have a party with cake outside the Whittington from 1:00 to 3:00pm.

7)       Students There are fewer places at medical school now and many medical students are not interested in resisting the Act.

It was agreed that in October, we should leaflet London Met and other local colleges.

It appears that the London BMA is very sympathetic to our views and may have a leaflet for students.

8)       Richard Moth: On a vote the following statement was unanimously approved:

Richard Moth no longer holds any office in, nor is he a member of, Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition.  It is therefore agreed that he should be removed as a signatory to the bank account.

9)       Harmoni: Camden KONP are demanding a public enquiry into Harmoni (now owned by ‘Care’ UK) which runs the out-of-hours service.   Other non commercial bidders were excluded on financial grounds.

This will be discussed at Camden’s Health & Scrutiny Committee meeting. Camden Town Hall 2nd July 6:30pm

10)   Events:

1st July Assembly Hall Upper St N1 Spirit of ‘45

10th July Moravian Church Priory Rd, Crouch End 7:00 – 9:00 Spirit of ‘45

11)   Meeting Closed.

Chair                                                                     Date

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Minutes 3 June 2013

July 26th, 2013 No comments

Planning Meeting

Monday 24th June 2013


  1. Introductions and apologies
  2. Minutes and matters arising
  3. Whitt Update
  4. Future activities

Board Meeting on  26th June

Letter Writing

Social and Gig



  1. Other campaigns
  2. A.O.B.

Minutes 3rd June 2013, Archway Methodist Church, 19:00 – 21.00

Chair: Shirley Franklin   Minutes: Mike Hart

Apologies:  JP, PZ

1)      Review of Action to Date As there were quite a few new members present, Shirley gave a brief review of the dispute between us and the Whittington board.

They had proposed a meeting chaired by Joe Liddane (Head of the board) with the board setting the agenda.  It was felt that this was not a meeting of equals to hammer out some kind of consensus, but rather a way of appearing to consult without actually taking our views into account.

In the end JL sent a powerpoint of what he would have said that tells us very little but vindicates our decision not to attend.  The powerpoint has been circulated.

This was full of clichés giving very little detail. However the small print on page 13 indicated that a and e services, readmissions, community sevices and outpatients  will all be re

2)      Our response to the breakdown of the meeting.  Suggestions included formulating our response via email, having a small group meet with Liddane but make it clear that his responses will be made public.

It was also suggested that we find out what the various local councils think of the plans.

Rod said he would attend the Joint North Central London Scrutiny Committee meeting on 6th June 2013 at 10:00.  This committee will ask difficult questions of the board.

ACTION: Rod to report back.

It was pointed out that ‘Transforming the Patient Experience’ is costed for providing medical care but people at home will also need social care and this would be charged to the patient.

There was a report that GPs are being trained to ‘refer less’.  There was some discussion about informing GPs about the implications of these kinds of policies.

One member pointed out that GPs are most worried about running out of funds.  Another person asked if it would be possible to produce an information sheet.

ACTION: produce info sheet on tariffs Mike

One person had been to one of the Joint Scrutiny committee meeting and reported that the committee had criticised the board for lack of transparency.

Someone suggested that it might be useful to email each other this kind of information.

It was pointed out that there are a lot of resources on the website.  Much of the information is archived but will appear in searches.  It is also possible to add information via the comments boxes.

It was suggested that we write to the body that now validates Foundation Trusts (no longer Monitor, we understand)) and point out the Board’s failings.  In doing so we should point out their confusion and explain the consequences for patients.

3)      Contacting the Press One attendee suggested that we all write to the local press with our concerns.

Another person pointed out that if everyone writes the press will get confused by the number of differing narratives.  One strong narrative is very important.

The suggestion was made that we form a media group.  This had strong support from the other members.

Shirley did not feel that this was a realistic proposal.  She was contacted by the press frequently and had press contacts built up over many years.  Also knowing what to say depends on being steeped in the issues.

She also felt that our media presence in the press was very good.  What did need attention was the Facebook page (where no one posted anything) and the twitter account (tweets were few and far between) although Shirley felt that these were not ideal campaigning tools.

It was agreed to come back to this issue as there was an unresolved difference of opinion.

ACTION: Shirley to put this item on the agenda for the next meeting.

4)      Stalls Some members had set up a stall at the Mayton St Festival.  The stall went very well.  A lot of interest was shown and we obtained a number of signatures to the petition as well as speaking to local people.

5)      Delegates Luke agreed to attend the Left Unity meeting and the People’s Assembly Against Austerity on our behalf.  Others are invited to go.

A request was made for a speaker at the Federation of Medical Students’ (September 16-18th) National Campaign against the cuts.

6)      Events

FBU Demo Sat 8th June. Assemble Highbury Fields (by tennis courts), Islington, 12 noon

BIG DAY OUT STALL Sat 8th June Whittington Park (off Holloway Rd)   1-5pm.  Meet in the Tea rooms 12:00

KONP/SOH LONDON MEETING WEDNESDAY 12th JUNE 6:30pm Unite House, 128 Theobalds Rd, WC1

HUNT FOR HUNT SATURDAY 15th JUNE North London coach leaving from Unite Offices on Green Lanes (nearest Tube Manor House)

ISLINGTON LEFT UNITY 16th JUNE – Showing of Ken Loach’s film Spirit of ‘45 Islington Pub, Tolpuddle St 6:00pm


FILM SHOWING – The Spirit of ’45 by Ken Loach, Monday 1st July  Islington Assembly Hall (Next to Town Hall) 7-8.30pm, followed by discussion and drinks. With Jeremy Corbyn, Emily Thornberry, Catherine West. A Rowan Arts event.

Anniversary of NHS Day of Action 5th July

7)      The meeting closed.  Next meeting TBA.

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Constitution of the Defend The Whittington Hospital Coalition

July 9th, 2013 No comments

This is the DWHC constitution under which the coalition has operated since its inception –

Name: Defend The Whittington Hospital Coalition

* Membership: Open to all individuals living or working in the affected boroughs, and all concerned organisations.

* Aims: To prevent the run down, closure or privatisation of A&E or any other key services at the Whittington, or at any other North London hospitals.

* Methods: The coalition will be inclusive, independent and non-sectarian – promoting communication, co-ordination and solidarity among all those concerned

* Tactics: The coalition will encourage and support a wide range of tactics and initiatives towards achieving the long term aim.

* Organisation: Joint chairs, joint secretaries (responsible for minutes and membership) and treasurer to be elected; other posts to be co-opted and sub-groups set up as needed – all accountable to the general meetings.

* Meetings: general meetings to be held regularly; will be chaired and minuted (to be circulated); atmosphere of respect; friendly but efficient; focused on practical activities towards achieving the aim; open to all; decisions by consensus where possible (voting if necessary), with particular acknowledgement to be given to the views of staff and patients’ organisations.

* Mandate: Only those mandated by a general meeting to do so can speak on behalf of the coalition, as mandated.

* Contacts: Secretaries to maintain membership and contacts lists for use of the coalition only.

* Communication: An updates/announcements e-list to be set up which anyone can subscribe to. All supporting organisations urged to cascade the coalition updates to their own members. Efforts will be made to provide updates to those with no email.

* Co-ordination: An internal co-ordination e-list to be set up to which those actively involved can be added.

* Affiliations: All organisations agreeing with the aims are urged to affiliate (by informing an elected officer).

* Finances: All money raised will be used for the achievement of the aims. Records will be maintained and made available to a general meeting on request. Affiliated organisations will be asked to donate £10 for up to 50 members, £50 for 50-500 members, and £100 for over 500 members. Individuals free, but donations welcome. Fundraising efforts encouraged.

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Press release on announcement of board’s revised plans

July 4th, 2013 No comments

Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition press release on 3 July 2013 commenting on the Whittington Board’s latest proposals unveiled at Camden Council’s health scrutiny committee on 2 July

At last night’s Health and Well-Being Scrutiny Committee of Camden Council, members of the Whittington Health Board presented an update of their recent plans for application for Foundation Trust – a presentation that was probably informed by the private consultancy company Ernst and Young who are advising them in this process.

Dr Greg Battle, GP and Medical Director of the Board, said that they were aware that they had not made the case well in their original plans. He stated that they revised their previous decisions and now their submission is driven by a “Clinical Strategy”, based on patient recovery. He argued that it is better for patients to recover at home. This presentation was based on research from America, which has a privatised health system which we do not wish to emulate here.

The Whittington Board’s plan is a thinly disguised strategy for cutting beds in the Hospital and does not take account of the high level of deprivation in the Whittington area and the consequent high health needs. Social care has reduced massively and hence the demand for beds has increased. It is simply not appropriate in many cases to send patients home early, where they may not receive the health and social support that they need. Further, on several occasions the Hospital has been on “red alert” over lack of beds. It has been operating a 94% bed occupancy rate, when 75% is the recommended level. What would happen if there was a flu epidemic or a major incident, say at the Arsenal. where would people go?

In addition to the plans presented, we have also been informed, recently, of plans to cut the Accident Emergency, Outpatients, Community Services and re-admissions – none of which is good news.

The decision to delay the sale of the buildings is to ensure that if successful, the new Foundation Trust would own the buildings and reap the benefit of the sale rather than the Department of Health, which would get the money currently.

We welcome the shift that the Board has had to make due to our constant pressure through petitions, meetings, demonstrations, etc. But there is still a lot  more pressure to be applied. This is why we are supporting the Manchester demonstration in defence of the NHS at the Conservative Party Conference on 29th September

We also invite everyone to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the NHS, outside the Whittington Hospital, on Friday 5th July, from 1-3 pm.

Shirley Franklin
Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition



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