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Planning meeting 04-03-2013

Minutes 4th March 2013

Place: Archway Methodist Church

Time: 19:00 – 21.00

Chair: Shirley Franklin

Minutes: Mike Hart

Apologies: JC, GH

1)      Review of Previous Actions: Shirley reported on the lobby of the Whittington’s board meeting  on Wednesday 27th February.  She was expecting between 20-50 people, but in the end a magnificent 150 turned up including people from Unite, Unison and GMB.

In the Board meeting Shirley (spoke for 15 minutes) outlined our demands of no loss of jobs, no loss of beds and no land sell off.  The Board were asked to withdraw their proposal, but refused to answer despite calls from other people present, for the board to answer the question.  In fact the proposals have been refused locally, it is thought, because they have cut away too much of the hospital.  The plans will be resubmitted in four months.

The next Board meeting will be on the 27th March 2013.

2)      Bed Reductions: Dr Koh , the Chief Executive of the Hospital, had stated that the number of beds was to be reduced from 360 to 177.  Deborah Goodheart (director of communications) stated in conversation that only 60 beds were to be cut.  These numbers seem to change frequently, so it is difficult to know what is going to happen.

3)      The Management Discussion Meetings:  Whittington Health are holding a series of ‘Discussion Meetings for the Public’.  At these meetings they have been saying that the sell off is in the best interests of the public.   There are a series of meetings (dates on the Whittington website).

A discussion ensued over whether we should give credence to the meetings by turning up, and if so what kind of intervention should take place.

In the discussion it was pointed out that the meetings are being billed as ‘consultations’.  They are not consultations and this should be made clear to the board, especially as the board have promised consultations.

One person pointed out that there are a number of these kinds of meetings.  They are often a focus for resistance and we should both be present and have them listed on DWHC’s website.

The outcome of the discussion was that lobbying the board meetings was a much more important task, but that if people wish to add going to the ‘discussion’ meetings as well then this would be a good thing to do.

We should only attend in small numbers to counter the board’s arguments.

4)      Board Meetings:

The question was asked as to who the Board are and how it is selected.  It was explained that the board is appointed through an appointments committee, but no one had any details of how this works.

There are also governors who are elected but they have no power.  Board meetings are decision making meeting (unlike the ‘consultation’ meetings). The Governors were not consulted and did not know about the sell-off plans.

A number of speakers expressed the view that because the board is a quango, it will only listen if forced to by big crowds and lots of publicity in the local press.  We should be turning up at their meetings regularly.  The meetings should be listed on the website.

One speaker pointed out that there were a number of forums that allowed some democratic input.  Although at the moment they were not effective we could rebuild them by attending their meetings.

A representative from Islington Trades Union Council promised to encourage TUs to take part in the lobbies.  He felt that there would be support despite the lack of interest by the regional office.  He also felt that it was important that we show solidarity with other workers, especially Clerkenwell fire station.

Some speakers called for a discussion of the strategy used during the lobbying.  In particular it was felt that the lobby should have continued for longer than it did.

It was suggested that we advertise the lobby using leaflets on the march (on the 18th March).

It was agreed that we should continue to prioritise the lobbying of the board meetings and build support for doing this.

5)      Demonstration on 18th March

A meeting was held with the police on Friday 2nd March.  The police insist that there must be 100 stewards.  There are a number of different stewards groups needed.  Some are needed for Highbury corner to give out placards, some to hold a large banner at the front of the march plus some extra stewards at the front of the march.  Stewards are also needed to help people with disabilities, a team will be needed for managing the stage, some people will be needed at the back of the march and people a team will be need  to collect money.

20 stewards have been pledged from Camden ITUC and another 20 from Unite.  There are about 5 organisations that have offered support.  IHOOPs and medical secretaries promised to try and get members to volunteer.

It was suggested that the local MPs approach Arsenal and Arsenal’s supporters group for support.

Kevin Doherty was appointed head steward.  It was announced that there would be a stewards meeting at 11:00 on the day.

A discussion ensued on leafleting, with sites identified and volunteers names taken for leafleting in the run up to the march.  A schedule is to be put on the web site.  Leaflets and posters will be available from the community centre in Yerbury Road, during office hours.

It was suggested that leaflets be taken round to surgeries, mosques, churches and other community places.  Also that people should use DWHC’s Facebook page.

The issue of insurance was raised.  After some discussion it was decided that we should not take out insurance.  As one person stated, safety is the responsibility of the authorities and the attempt to get organisers to take insurance, is an attempt to limit the right to march.

Donations to date amount to £5,000.00 from GMB and Camden Unison, but of course more donations are needed.

Speakers so far include:  The four MPs, Catherine West (leader of Islington council), Natalie Bennett (from the Green Party), Owen Jones, Candy Udwin, Wendy Savage, someone from Save Chase Farm, someone from Barnet Alliance, Jo Brand, Mark Steel, Greg Edwards, Helen Davies (from Barnet Alliance), Someone from IHOOPS, and DEPAC. Someone from RMT .

6)      Notices

Barnet Alliance for Public Services:  demonstration to defend Barnet’s public services Saturday 23rd March. The next Whittington Hospital board meeting will be on the 27th March 2013.

KONP/SOH:  All London march to defend the NHS 18th May

Save Ealing Hospital Demonstration 27th April

7)      Next Meeting The next meeting was scheduled for 18th March, although some doubt was expressed, due to its proximity to the march.

The meeting closed.


7.00 pm   Monday 25th March Archway Methodist Hall

  1. Introductions

  1. Apologies for Absence

  1. Minutes – accuracy and matters arising

  1. Feedback from demonstration

  1. Campaign Update:

Activities to date – Board Discussion Meetings

Position of Board – plans for Foundation Trust

6. Future Activities

All London Hospitals KONP Demo on 18th May, assembling at Jubilee Gardens

Day of Action on date of next Board Meeting- Wednesday 24th April

Legal action

7. Other Health Campaigns

8. AOB

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