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.
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
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
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