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Royal Free Shut

April 6th, 2010 Comments off

Just a quicky.

The Royal Free’s A&E has been shut today thanks to a power failure.

This is from the BBC News site:

A London hospital has partially re-opened its accident and emergency department following a power failure.

The Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, north London, said it was still diverting ambulances after “a major internal incident” at 0845 BST.

A statement said the electrical fault had been corrected and main power supply has been restored but was still being tested.

A hospital spokesman said the A&E department was seeing walk-in patients.

She said: “The mains power supply has now been re-established.

“Although the power supply has returned, it is being tested and A&E will not be re-opened to ambulances until the trust is assured that the power supply is secure.”

It’s just as well the Whittington’s there isn’t it?

Day Of Action, More Press and another Video

April 5th, 2010 1 comment

Sorry that’s it’s been a while since the last update, things have been a bit hectic over the last few weeks.

We had a good couple of hours with the stall outside the Nag’s Head, Holloway on Saturday morning, collecting more signatures, distributing flyers and spreading the word about the Day of Action.  We’ve now got well over ten thousand petition signatures on paper and over 1500 online.

Day Of Action, 29th April

Things are coming along really well for the Day of Action with several different groups and individuals organising events for the day. Hopefully the campaign to save our A&E will be visible in offices, shops and on the streets right across north London. If you have, or need, any ideas for activities please contact us at defendwhittington@googlemail.com. Let us know if you’ve planned something so we can arrange some coverage.

There are more details about the day here and we’ve published a flyer for the day here.

Press Coverage

There’s been a lot of coverage of the meeting with Rachel Tyndall on Monday 29th.

I need to apologise to the Haringey Indepenedent. They have provided a lot of coverage but unfortunately slipped under my radar and haven’t appeared on the site. Sorry.

Hornsey Journal, 03/04/2010: Whittington Hospital: tough choices to be made, says health boss

Islington Tribune, 02/04/2010: Woman who has Whittington A&E fate in her hands

Haringey Independent, 29/03/2010: Senior doctors oppose Whittington Hospital A&E closure

Video

Another excellent video about the march and rally.

The filmmakers who volunteered their time to make the film were:

  • Justine Gordon-Smith
  • Chris Hall
  • Grave Livingstone
  • Maggie Pallat.

A message from Jeremy Corbyn and Islington Tribune’s report of tonight’s meeting.

March 5th, 2010 No comments

We received this message of thanks and support from Jeremy Corbyn on Monday.  We thank Jeremy and all the politicians, trade unions, pressure groups, community groups, local press and individuals who are actively involved in the Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition and the Whittington A&E campaign in general. This battle needs our combined, unified voice to shout loud over the Whittington.

Congratulations to the Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition for the superb organization of a brilliant demonstration; thanks also to the local police for their cooperation and efficiency in making sure that the march passed off safely and effectively.

The 5,000 of us who marched on Saturday represented people from Hetty Bower, aged 104, down to parents with new born babies. We represented every age, outlook and ethnic community that our borough has to offer.

We did so, because we are passionate in defending a National Health Service free at the point of use, and our local hospital at the Whittington. The A&E alone deals with over 80,000 emergencies per year and the hospital as a whole of course handles many other consultations and elective surgery. Any closure of the A&E department would, literally, cut off the lifeblood of the hospital.

The regional NHS planning group (London North Central) appear to be unaccountable and unconcerned, as they try to centralise services on two major hospitals, thus leaving Haringey and Islington with no major A&E departments of their own.

I have raised the issue several times in parliament, and I will continue to pressurize ministers and the House to understand that health officials have no business making plans for reducing expenditure, and absolutely no business taking away crucial local services that are so obviously loved and valued by everybody.

As the MP for North Islington, I am very clear where my priorities lie, keep the Whittington A&E!

Lynn Featherstone (Liberal Democrat MP and instrumental in North Central London NHS’s plan leaving their smokeless smokey back rooms and reaching the Whittington’s public) organised a public meeting tonight with Rachel Tyndall in attendance. This is the Islington Tribune report of the meeting:

SAVE OUR WHITTINGTON: Health chiefs face fresh grilling but give no guarantee consultation will save A & E

By RICHARD OSLEY

PATIENTS celebrating the success of the Save The Whittington Hospital march were brought down to earth last night when key administrators warned that widespread opposition might not be enough to stop accident and emergency services being axed.

At a meeting organised by Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone in Hornsey, neither Rachel Tyndall, Chairwoman of the North Central London (NCL) review panel or Richard Sumray, chairman of the Haringey Primary Care Trusy, could offer any assurance that the facility would be protected should a negative public response be confirmed in official consultation survey.
Mr Sumray would not go stronger than saying the views gathered in the upcoming survey would be “hugely important”.
Members of the 300 strong audience in the Greig Academy school hall had wanted a pledge that if there was no support for an overhaul of hospitals in north London, the plans would be abandoned.
An annoyed grimace fell across Mr Sumray’s face on the main stage when it was suggested by a heckler that he did not understand the question. “In health, people are always very resistant to change, generally they like what they’ve got,” he said. “So any change we have to make needs to have a compelling case. I am not going to say – and noone would say – what will happen as a consequence of consultation. All of the comments will be taken into account but I can’t tell you what the final decision will be now.”
The accident and emergency department and the maternity unit face the act in a wave of £500 million cuts and a re-organisation which will see patients treated in new, smaller GP surgeries. The Defend Whittington Hospital coalition organised one of the biggest marches in recent memory in north London on Saturday afternoon, with help from unions and the New Journal. We have run a Save Our Whittington campaign since November.
Ms Tyndall, who has so far born much of the brunt of the anger surrounding the campaign against the cuts, told the meeting she was proud “to be a public servant” working for the NHS, but said it was her job to test the private market over health services.
“We have all read in the newspapers about the public sector deficit,” she said. “We have to get the best value for tax-payers money. It’s all of ours money and we have to make sure its spent in the wisest possible way.”
Back on the subject of the future of the Whittington specifically, she admitted there was a chance that ambulances in the future could drive “past the front door of the hospital and go to an alternative hospital instead”, if one set of suggested changes were introduced.
When the audience murmured that the Royal Free in Hampstead was already too busy and unable to cope with thousands more patients, Ms Tyndall said that if hospitals worked in a more “efficient and productive way, there would be greater capacity”.
She added: “I don’t know what will happen because we haven’t yet made a decision about the Whittington Hospital.”
Ms Featherstone, the Hornsey and Wood Green MP who was in the front line of marchers on Saturday when 5,000 protetsters stopped traffic in Holloway Road on their way to the hospital forecourt, said: “I don’t think my guests see things in the same way – and that’s putting things mildly. Nobody I have spoken to either in this room or out there, thinks these proposals are a good idea. Given that, why don’t they refocus on keeping it open and making it work.”

Please visit the Islington Tribune site to read more about their support for the campaign and comment on the story.

http://www.islingtontribune.com/news/2010/mar/save-our-whittington-health-chiefs-face-fresh-grilling-give-no-guarantee-consultation-

The march and rally, press coverage and the next steps

March 1st, 2010 No comments

Hi everyone,

Many thanks for everything you have all done to contribute towards Saturday’s march, which was a fantastic success. We estimate there were about five thousand people walking along Holloway Road to the Hospital, including many nurses and doctors who work there but are unable to show their support publicly. Many of those walking had never been on a march before, and we are delighted that Saturday has successfully launched the Coalition’s public campaign and made us a real force in this debate. NHS officials can be in no doubt that the entire population of Islington and surrounding boroughs will not accept cuts that would tear the heart out of the Whittington Hospital and reduce services to those who need them most.

We are really grateful to all of you for your help, it just shows what we can all achieve by working together! Read more…

Whittington March & Rally Today!

February 27th, 2010 No comments

Today’s the day when thousands of Londoners tell North Central London NHS that we will not tolerate the closure of the Whittington’s A&E, and will not tolerate decisions about our healthcare being made behind our backs.

Come and join us at Highbury Corner, mid-day, for the march to the Whittington and the rally. We have a great line up of speakers for the rally and the indications are that this is going to be a very big event. Come and help us make our voices heard.

Here’s an item about the day from the Islington Gazette:

Thousands march to save The Whittington Hospital

UP to 5,000 people are to descending on Islington on Saturday in a valiant bid to save The Whittington Hospital.

The march from Highbury Corner to The Whittington in Magdala Avenue, Archway, will be the biggest that north London has seen in recent years.

The Whittington Hospital could lose its accident and emergency department under a mass shake-up being planned by health chiefs.

The plans being drawn up by the North Central London NHS could also see The Whittington’s maternity unit, intensive care unit and children’s beds axed.

The march has been organised by the Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition.

Campaigners are assembling at Highbury Corner at midday in order to walk the length of Holloway Road.

The march is expected to reach The Whittington by about 1.30pm where a rally will take place.

Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Emily Thornberry, Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone, Green Party candidate Emma Dixon and leader of Islington Council Terry Stacy are among the politicians that will address the massive crowd.

Keep Our NHS Public campaigners Wendy Savage and Candy Udwin will also be rallying support for the hospital.

Zozi Goodman, joint chairwoman of the Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition, is trying to get as many people as possible down to the march.

She said: “We are encouraging everybody to come and show the NHS that this is something we are not going to take lying down.

“We think it’s probably going to be the biggest protest in north London for many years. This is the one way in which we can really make our voices heard.”

People arriving at the march may need to arrive by bus or train because of problems with the Tube over the weekend. Archway station is closed for engineering works and Finsbury Park and Highbury and Islington stations will not be served by the Victoria line.

The Archway-bound carriageway of Holloway Road will also be closed to traffic between 12pm and 4pm.

And up to 20 bus routes will be affected, with some being diverted and others forced to terminate early.

We”ll see you there!

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