Archive for January, 2014

Statement by DWHC chair Shirley Franklin

January 28th, 2014 No comments

Whittington Sell-off Campaign.  Some reflections


In July 2013 we stopped the sell-off of most of the buildings and jobs, and all the beds at the Whittington Hospital. Amazing! Three years ago we saved the Accident and Emergency and other departments, but this sell-off is a far bigger challenge to overcome. With the current talk in Board Meetings of cuts and efficiencies, we still have a way to go. Does the revised plan even still hold?

The problem for the Whittington Hospital is that under the destructive 2012 Health and Social Care legislation all hospitals have to become Foundation Trusts – independent hospitals, like business units, that can be taken over by a private company.

The Board of the Whittington Hospital made an appalling first application to become a Foundation Trust, massively reducing the operation of the Hospital as a proper fully-functioning hospital. They did not tell or consult with consulted with anyone. The Board took the decision to agree to these disgraceful proposals in a mere five minutes. They presented their plans as a fait accomplis, that no-one else could do anything about.

Our campaign has been relentless. The stop the sell off message sped across the community via our Coalition, through our mass leafleting and petitioning.

We held a huge public meeting, a demonstration and lobbied the Board at their monthly meetings. Our coalition includes hospital and local trade unions, who have financially and actively supported the campaign. We also have local political parties, MPs, other campaign groups, Hospital staff and patients and local newspapers. Islington MP, Jeremy Corbyn, asked several awkward parliamentary questions to the Minister of Health. This coalition of various groups has been vital in our success.

The Board has behaved very strangely. They produced their totally unacceptable plan, that they now admit was completely inappropriate. Funnily, we could see that they really did not like our stop the sell off slogan, our fab demonstration cat banner and placards – our whole visual as well as vocal campaign. We are now wondering how it is that having disposed of Joe Liddane, who stage-managed these shenanigans, the Chief Executive of the hospital, Li Mien Koh, is still in post

There are issues that remain. We are very concerned that the new model is based on early discharge of patients in our area that has a population of high levels of needs. We all know what is happening to social care under this Government.

We are also concerned about jobs that seemed to have been reduced by over 100.

We want to thank everyone who helped in our recent victory. But there is still more to do, locally and nationally.

Whose Hospital? Our Hospital. Whose NHS? Our NHS!

Shirley Franklin, January 2014

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AGM minutes 2 December 2013

January 28th, 2014 No comments



Minutes 2 December 2013


Place:  Archway Methodist Church 19.00 – 20.50


Chair:  Shirley Franklin   Minutes: Valerie Lipman


1. Introductions and apologies

Shirley welcomed everyone to the meeting.  Eleven people attended the meeting. Apologies were received from 10 people, including Jeremy Corbyn, Tony Marshall,


2. Minutes and matters arising of 2010 AGM

These were approved.  There were no matters arising.


3. Chair’s Report for 2012/13

Shirley gave a brief summary of the history of the DWHC from it first campaign, which successfully resulted in saving the A&E at the Whittington.  2011 and 2012 saw a quieter period in campaigning against the Health and Social Care Bill, with just a small core of people.  Vigorous campaigning started again at the start of 2013 in response to the hospital’s proposal for substantial cuts in services, staffing and buildings.  There had been no public consultation at all on this proposals and were revealed through an article in the local newspaper.  A relentless campaign, that included demonstrations, attendance at Whittington Health Board meetings, leafleting and running stalls, resulted in a reversal of the hospital’s plans. Shirley thanked everyone for their massive input and support.

Shirley outlined the main features of the new Health Strategy and the new three tier emergency care system: ambulatory, urgent and A&E.  The campaign had had good media coverage, including local BBC and ITN news.  The DWHC remains concerned though about some of the changes.  These are primarily to do with the uncertainty about further staff losses, the goal of getting people out of hospital as quickly as possible without there being adequate support in the community, and the future of the two buildings that are still due for closure.

A short discussion followed.  There was agreement about the need to keep MPs and Councillors informed about the health service changes.

Shirley was warmly thanked for leading the successful campaign.

4.  Treasurer’s Report

There was £3,202.85 in the account as of 30/11/13.  Noted that the greatest expenditure had been on the badges and printing leaflets  It was suggested that it is not necessary to use full colour printing, which is more expensive. UNISON have offered further funds to the DWHC which will be taken up as and when necessary.

Alice was thanks for all her work.


5. Elections

There being no further nominations the following positions and post holders were agreed:

Chair: Shirley Franklyn

Treasurer:  Alice Kilroy

Secretary – database and mailings: Jem Lindon

Secretary – minutes – Valerie Lipman

Website: Tony Marshall


6. AOB

No other business was raised.


7. Close of AGM 7.45pm.




Planning Meeting Dec 2nd 2013


1. Minutes and matters arising from 4th November 2013 meeting.

The minutes were agreed.  There were no matters arising.


2. Update on meetings attended

VL noted that she had attended the last meeting of the CCG Board.  She was still getting to grips with these meetings, which had massive agendas, and had raised a point about consultation with minority groups, which she was for feedback on. She would be attending the next Patient and Community Group meeting on 5th December.


3. Other business

Shirley suggested that usual planning meetings be held once every two months, unless there was a change in the situation and further meetings were required.  Agreed by all those present.  Next meeting will therefore be on 3rd February 2014.


4.  Meeting closed at 8.00



AGM Speaker

Gill George from Keep Our NHS Public talked about the impact of the health service changes on communities and patients.


Gill opened by saying that with the present level of cuts, outsourcing and privatisation that the fundamentals of the NHS would be lost by 2015.  It was not possible to maintain an organisation with 20% ‘efficiency savings’ planned.  Only savage cuts in the whole service could achieve this level of ‘savings’.  She said that CCGs had been put in place to make and manage the cuts. The long term outcome could can only result in private insurance.

In Islington Gill said that a number of services are already going out to tender, including wheelchair service, terminal care and adult continuing care.  These are particularly concerning because it would be extremely difficult to make a profit in these services, and hence big anxiety about how to maintain a quality of service.  The NHS frequently fails to get the contracts put out for tender, because all the financial  information is open to the public, and thus private companies know the figures they are competing with, and can undercut.  The NHS is also effectively subsidising private companies because they have trained all the professional therapists etc who will then work with the private company. Privatisation of pieces of the NHS also undermines and weakens the whole.


Gill suggested some points and actions for the DWHC to consider. It should monitor the shift from acute services to broadly what’s happening to vulnerable client groups, such as older people, and people with mental health issues.  DWHC should continue attending CCG, look in detail at the Whittington Health activities, and attend Scrutiny meetings.


There were a number of suggestions for action from the floor, including:

a)  running a campaign with the local paper about what’s going on for local people by gathering evidence about who is being denied treatment

b) producing a leaflet with some key facts about the impact changes in the NHS – the leaflet to be targeted at policy makers to ensure they are adequately informed of the real implications of the changes.

c) make clear, perhaps by letters to the papers or leaflets, what the changes will mean to the individual.


Gill was warmly thanked for the excellent and stimulating session.


The meeting closed at 9.00



VL 20 December 2013

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