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Press release on announcement of board’s revised plans

Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition press release on 3 July 2013 commenting on the Whittington Board’s latest proposals unveiled at Camden Council’s health scrutiny committee on 2 July

At last night’s Health and Well-Being Scrutiny Committee of Camden Council, members of the Whittington Health Board presented an update of their recent plans for application for Foundation Trust – a presentation that was probably informed by the private consultancy company Ernst and Young who are advising them in this process.

Dr Greg Battle, GP and Medical Director of the Board, said that they were aware that they had not made the case well in their original plans. He stated that they revised their previous decisions and now their submission is driven by a “Clinical Strategy”, based on patient recovery. He argued that it is better for patients to recover at home. This presentation was based on research from America, which has a privatised health system which we do not wish to emulate here.

The Whittington Board’s plan is a thinly disguised strategy for cutting beds in the Hospital and does not take account of the high level of deprivation in the Whittington area and the consequent high health needs. Social care has reduced massively and hence the demand for beds has increased. It is simply not appropriate in many cases to send patients home early, where they may not receive the health and social support that they need. Further, on several occasions the Hospital has been on “red alert” over lack of beds. It has been operating a 94% bed occupancy rate, when 75% is the recommended level. What would happen if there was a flu epidemic or a major incident, say at the Arsenal. where would people go?

In addition to the plans presented, we have also been informed, recently, of plans to cut the Accident Emergency, Outpatients, Community Services and re-admissions – none of which is good news.

The decision to delay the sale of the buildings is to ensure that if successful, the new Foundation Trust would own the buildings and reap the benefit of the sale rather than the Department of Health, which would get the money currently.

We welcome the shift that the Board has had to make due to our constant pressure through petitions, meetings, demonstrations, etc. But there is still a lot  more pressure to be applied. This is why we are supporting the Manchester demonstration in defence of the NHS at the Conservative Party Conference on 29th September

We also invite everyone to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the NHS, outside the Whittington Hospital, on Friday 5th July, from 1-3 pm.

Shirley Franklin
Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition



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