Place: Archway Methodist Church 19.00 – 20.40
Chair: Shirley Franklin Minutes: Valerie Lipman
- Introductions and apologies
Shirley welcomed everyone to the meeting. Fifteen people attended. Apologies were received from Catherine West, Tony Marshall.
- Minutes of the 18th May 2015 and matters arising
The minutes were approved.
There was no progress on our simplified leaflet about the value of the NHS and the impact of the 2012 Care Act, but a similar summary, produced by another group can be found on our website for 2 June 2015. SF reminded people to use the DWHC website – it has a lot of good information and a good place to exchange news.
We still need to find out which Whittington Hospital services are privatised.
- Whittington Hospital Update
SF and VL met with Simon Pleydell CEO of the Whittington Health on 11 June to find out more about forthcoming changes. A summary of the main points was sent out to all on the DWHC mailing list on 18 June 2015. We were informed that savings of £16.9 million have to be found this year (2015/16) and £19 million cut next year. He has told us that he does not intend to reduce health provision for the Whittington Community. The cuts will be met in the main through “efficiencies” in admin (i.e. admin redundancies), wastage etc. Some buildings like the Old Royal Northern might go, but be replaced by more effective cutting edge provision.
GH reported that at the last meeting of the Scrutiny Board the CEO of the Whittington had commented that they could not provide services if they’re not properly paid for them.
4.The future of the DWHC
SF described what the DWHC does – including attending meetings of the Board and other related meetings, runs regular stalls, organises demos, does public speaking, and provides solidarity to other campaigns, such as UNITE, closures of other hospitals. This level of activity and any future campaign need more resources and time given to it than are currently on hand. It’s not possible to carry on at the current rate. There was a long discussion about the future of the DWHC. Key points included:
- clarification that the DWHC is non-party political and needs to ensure that it’s not seen to be backing the Labour Party, though the local MP, Jeremy Corbyn, has always been and continues to be a very strong supporter of the DWHC
- That we need to be kept informed of changes by the Whittington that might quality and volume of services provided for patients.
- It was fine for the DWHC to have a figurehead to do public speaking etc.
- That a body was necessary to keep fighting cuts at the Whittington and oversee what’s going on
- Questions posed about whether we should and could still run street stalls
- Would it be helpful to keep momentum going by organising a ‘health event’ to raise awareness etc or did people only become involved and attend meetings when there was a ‘crisis’?
- Agreed there should be more support from the union. DWHC has been very supportive. Clarification also made that it was not the DWHC’s role to take action against staff cuts – that was the Union’s role.
- Elections for the chair/secretary posts to draw in more people. Noted that the DWHC held elections at its AGM every December
- Some argued that it was not sustainable in its current form.
The meeting agreed that the DWHC should carry on and for the time being would keep a watching brief on developments at the Whittington, but would be ready to spring into action if it perceived substantive negative changes were being made to front-line services and especially to A&E. GH agreed to act as ‘alert person’ for DWHC, keeping it up to date with significant matters from Islington Scrutiny meetings which he regularly attends. He also agreed to attend the monthly meetings of the Whittington Board and report back.
The next meeting of the Whittington Health Board is 2nd September in Room 7, Whittington Education Centre, The Whittington Hospital. Their AGM follows 5.00 pm that same day. Details can be found on Whittington Health website:
Other campaigns – the meeting was reminded of two major current health/health related campaigns:
- NHS Reinstatement Bill – the main aim of this is to restore the Secretary of State for Health’s responsibility for, and duty to provide, crucial services including hospitals and community services throughout England. This duty was removed under the 2012 Health and Social Care Act
- TTIP – [Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership] – is a series of trade agreements between the EU and USA TTIP about reducing the regulatory barriers to trade for big business. One of its main aims is to open up Europe’s public health, education and water services to US companies. If it all goes through it could essentially mean the privatisation of the NHS.
The next meeting to be arranged as necessary. The AGM will be held as usual in December – date to be agreed.