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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?

A brief report of tonight’s meeting

March 23rd, 2010 No comments

This is a very brief report. More detail will follow over the next few of days.

Over 100 people attended the fantastic meeting tonight where we discussed plans for the next stage of the campaign. The main focus will be a day of action on Thursday 29th April, one week before the probable general election date. The day of action has been arranged for a weekday so that people who work in the areas served by the Whittington can participate in their workplaces. There will also be a rally between 12.00 and 14.00 om the day.

We are going to attend the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) demonstration outside Parliament at 11.00 on Wednesday 24th March. Local PCS branches officially support the campaign and this is a good opportunity to get the attention of politicians and highlight the connections between the Whittington campaign and that of the wider Public Sector.

Rachel Tyndall will be attending a meeting at Islington Town Hall on Monday 29th March. We should have a delegation at the meeting. Placards outside at 19.00 then in to the meeting at 19.30.

There was much discussion from the floor and Jeremy Corbyn provided an update about activities in Parliament.

Islingtonnow tweeted from the meeting (and blew my attempts out of the water.) You can read their live account of the meeting here.

Much more was discussed and minutes from the meeting will be on the site soon.

Sorry for the  somewhat perfunctory nature of this post: your web chap is very , very tired.

Videos and a reminder

March 21st, 2010 No comments

This is a brilliant video by Sarah Mills documenting the campaign up to the march on 27th February.

The BBC have footage of Lynne Featherstone’s Westminster Hall debate, ‘London Hospitals’, from 17th March 2010 (a transcription from TheyWorkForYou was posted here the other day.). It includes contributions from Jeremy Corbyn, Health Minister Mike O’Brien and MPs from around London. At 1hr 30mins there’s quite a lot to get through but it’s well worth a watch if you have the time.

It’s available on the BBC site here.

Please remember to get along to tomorrow’s meeting if you can, 19.00 at the Whittington Park Community Centre. There are more details here.

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-

Public Meeting with North Central London NHS

March 2nd, 2010 No comments

Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey & Wood Green, has arranged a public meeting with, among others, Rachel Tyndall (Chair of the North Central London (NCL) review panel.)

This is an opportunity to ask more about the proposals and demand proper consultation.

There’s more information on Lynne Featherstone’s blog  here.

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