Minutes of DWHC Annual General Meeting 6th December 2010
Shirley Franklin, Katy Gold, Alice Kilroy, Sheila Patton, David Emmett, Christine Hall-Maiden, Irada Fracassi, Ian Shacklock, Jem Lindon, Gill George
Mick Gilgunn, Jeremy Corbyn, Emma Dixon, Kevin Docherty
3. Mins of last Meeting
(25th Oct). 5 people attended last meeting. Main topic was the White Paper on NHS Reforms.
4. Chair’s Report
Shirley gave an introduction, explaining how the coalition was formed a year ago, with representatives from all political parties, local residents’ organisations, trade unions, from several boroughs. The campaign is now viewed as a good model; it has been a very broad campaign, the petition was very successful, and it engaged people on the streets, not just online users. The demonstration was very successful; the Islington Tribune was very prominent, as were the local MPs. It has attracted coverage in local and regional press and on TV. The cat logo has been very effective, likewise the website. The turning point was the Day of Action, when Andrew Lansley made an announcement outside the Whittington Hospital.
5. Election of Officers
Some minor amendments were made to the constitution, to reduce the number of officers. There are no longer joint chairs or joint secretaries.
Shirley Franklin was re-elected as chair. Katy Gold as Treasurer. Ian Shacklock as Secretary.
Ian agreed to add the constitution to the website.
6. Treasurer’s Report
The meeting thanked Katy and Alice for their efforts in preparing the accounts (which were presented in the form of an Income and Expenditure sheet).
Katy agreed to write to the Trades Council, to seek funding from Unison and Unite.
7. Guest Speaker: Gill George.
Gill spoke about Current and Future issues of NHS campaign and other related campaigns
She began with some references to the Black Report of 1980 (which had been commissioned by the Callaghan Government). This report claimed that health inequality was caused by social and economic inequality (which is consistent with current thinking) but sadly this report was buried by the Thatcher Government.
She warned that Lansley has put food and drink firms such as Mars and Coca Cola in charge of health matters. Commercial organisations are outnumbering health experts by a ratio of 3 to 1. The new approach is to blame consumers for their health problems.
The Government is scrapping funding for public health projects (e.g. sports and community health)
The NHS needs a 4% increase just to stand still. Instead, it is getting an increase of only 0.1%.
The Chief Executive of the NHS has commented that the PCTs are now in meltdown, but Lansley’s response is that they are merely undergoing an evolutionary change. The PCTs are making ad-hoc cost savings; enforced delays will drive some patients towards private care. Hip replacements, for example, are now being linked to body mass index. Basically, the changes are cost driven not clinically driven. Islington PCT will be merging with 4 other PCTs.
Nevertheless, Gill believes that there is a winnable fight to be fought.
Shirley commented that our local context is dire. The Whittington has absorbed Community Servivces for Haringey and Islington. Also, the councils’ Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committees will cease to exist.