Place: Archway Methodist Church 19.00 – 20.40
Chair: Shirley Franklin Minutes: Valerie Lipman
- Introductions and apologies
Shirley welcomed everyone to the meeting. Fourteen people attended. Apologies were received from Gary Heather, Catherine West, Bruce Kent, Tony Marshall, Phil Richards.
- Minutes of the 2nd March 2015 and matters arising
The minutes were approved.
- Health hustings – approximately 50 people had attended the DWHC hustings. Though the numbers were disappointing it was a good meeting with a vibrant discussion. Representatives from five of the local major political parties across Islington and Haringey were on the platform; plus an empty chair that represented Lynn Featherstone’s absence. We’d run a lot of public stalls up till the meeting distributing our manifesto and getting signatures for our petition.
- The Whittington maternity charity concert was very poorly attended and Sodexo the private company with the catering contract at the Whittington Hospital provided inadequate refreshments. We were also concerned over the lack of involvement of the Board at the concert.
- Whittington Hospital Update & General Election
It was reported that Whittington Health is running a deficit. Members of the meeting have had conflicting information about the future of the Whittington’s acute and A&E services. Although a rumour about possible cuts to acute services had been scotched by the CEO concerns were still expressed about the future of the hospital as a fully functioning district hospital. It was also noted that the Whittington Health’s 2015-2020 Strategy nonetheless contained a stated commitment to the retention of its current A&E service. This was reassuring to see. We’ve also heard that staff are leaving in droves from the hospital. The meeting expressed major anxieties about the outcome of the election and the likelihood of increased privatisation of health services. Reports (including from the Chair of the Whittington Health) usually state that 5% of services have been privatised so far.
4.Where do we go from here
Concerns were expressed about the 24/7 emergency services and the future of the out of hours/111 service, the possibility that patients are being moved out of hospital too soon to receive community services which are in short supply and being cut; the loss of permanent staff and expertise. It was reported by one member that CCGs would experience difficulties in getting in private companies because the profits would be too small to make it worthwhile for most companies.
There was a discussion on how we could help to ‘control the story’ about what’s happening with the changes in the NHS, to increase people’s understanding of the implications of privatisation and to get them engaged in campaigning when there aren’t obvious cuts being made. SF reported that she’s writing a simplified leaflet, based on our manifesto, to explain some of the key changes in the Care Act and their impact on the NHS. Other suggestions included organising a media launch for the leaflet, aligning with national campaigns, the need to keep up to date on what’s happening locally to run a regular stall and to do stalls at local events, such as the Whittington Community Centre event on 13th June.
The meeting agreed that it would adopt a dual ongoing role in keeping an eye on developments within the Whittington and attempt to raise awareness amongst the community of the impact of changes in the NHS on local provision. It was agreed:
- to regularly attend the monthly meetings of the Whittington Board. The next meeting is 2 -5 3rd June.
- to find out which services offered by Whittington Health have been privatised so far
- to arrange a meeting with CEO of the Whittington Health to find out more about forthcoming changes.
Mental Health – an update was given about a ‘new’ service in Islington called ‘Recovery Colleges’, which are supposed to be about enabling people’s chances of getting work after attending a 10 week course at their local day centre. These ‘colleges’ are using mental health patients instead of employing staff to provide the courses. Concern was also expressed about personal budgets in mental health which are being seen as a form of cut.
21 May – London Metropolitan meeting at Highbury Fields. SF speaking
30th May – Rally to institute Cathy Udwin a union representative at the National Gallery
13th June – from 12pm – Whittington Community Centre annual fair. Stall needed
20th June – End Austerity Campaign rally at Bank of England. Meeting agreed to gather at Archway Station at 11.15.
July 4th – 10.30 – 3.30 London-wide anti austerity conference at Islington Town Hall
Date of next meeting 6 July 2015, 7 – 9 at Archway Methodist Church
VL 28 May 2015