Posts Tagged ‘dhwc’

Why We Won the Whittington

May 5th, 2010 Comments off

There is no doubt that the victory over the U-turns of the Labour Secretary of State for Health is very largely the result of our non-party campaign to Defend and save the Accident and Emergency, Maternity, Trauma and Paediatric Services at the Whittington Hospital, and to oppose privatisation and cuts in any other NHS hospital.

Our role was crucial for the following reasons: it was a united non-party campaign of residents, hospital workers and other trade unionists – Our Hospital, Your Jobs – and representation from other local campaigns and political parties.

Almost everyone we spoke to supported our campaign. We got at least 16,000 signatures through leafleting and talking to thousands of local people. The popularity of this campaign made it a hot election issue, where all mainstream political parties wanted to be involved – some more directly involved with us than others. The local press supported the campaign and the Islington Tribune, in particular, played a huge role in helping us to build for our march.

We organised a stunning march on 27th February, where 5,000 people demonstrated their opposition. This was the biggest local march for decades, and probably the biggest ever march for a hospital. This was also the major turning point as it got massive media coverage. We organised a public meeting to launch our forthcoming day of action and rally, on Thursday 29th April, one week before the general election. Having asked several leaders of political parties and their spokespeople to speak, only Andrew Lansley, Tory Shadow Health Minister accepted the invitation.

At this point the Conservatives, Greens and Liberal Democrats had said that they wanted to scrap the review. Emily Thornberry is in a marginal seat. She has supported the campaign and been pressurising Andy Burnham, Labour Health Secretary, who had previously supported the PCT review. After Andrew Lansley accepted our invitation, Andy Burnham told Emily Thornberry on Tuesday 27th April that he had changed his mind, that he did not wish the A and E to close (Since then Shirley has received (on 29th April) an email from Mike O’Brien who claims that he too supports the A and E, and that the papers were only part of a discussion not proposals (a term used by Rachel Tyndall, chief Exec of the north Central London PCT).

We won because we established a mass campaign, one that was initiated by Jeremy Corbyn in Islington and later by Lynne Featherstone, in Hornsey and Wood Green, which also included hospital workers. We won because we timed it right during the election period. We won because we are cross-party, we got the right political and people. We won because we worked our guts out, we talked to loads and loads of people, had a great website, Facebook and email list and visual identity.

But this is not the end. We hope this victory isn’t an electoral gimmick. Will they stick to their promises? Who will win the election will determine what happens and what is cut next? In health terms, the cuts have already happened to the Cinderella of the Health Service, mental health.

We are considering spearheading a London-wide campaign. What’s next: On Monday 10th May we will be holding a public meeting to decide where we go, what we do next. We might be thinking about leading a London-wide campaign. Please join us at the Whittington Community Centre, Yerbury Road, N19 at 7.00 pm

Shirley Franklin
Chair of the Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition

Addendum from Dave Plummer:

With perfectly bad timing my PC was struck by a virus over the weekend, hence the lack of updates and emails etc. Sorry about that. I’ve sorted it out now and will be updating the site over the next few days with links to press articles, TV coverage etc.

Planning Meeting

April 23rd, 2010 Comments off

Regular planning meeting but with a focus on the Day of Action (29th April 2010). All are welcome.

Day Of Action, More Press and another Video

April 5th, 2010 1 comment

Sorry that’s it’s been a while since the last update, things have been a bit hectic over the last few weeks.

We had a good couple of hours with the stall outside the Nag’s Head, Holloway on Saturday morning, collecting more signatures, distributing flyers and spreading the word about the Day of Action.  We’ve now got well over ten thousand petition signatures on paper and over 1500 online.

Day Of Action, 29th April

Things are coming along really well for the Day of Action with several different groups and individuals organising events for the day. Hopefully the campaign to save our A&E will be visible in offices, shops and on the streets right across north London. If you have, or need, any ideas for activities please contact us at Let us know if you’ve planned something so we can arrange some coverage.

There are more details about the day here and we’ve published a flyer for the day here.

Press Coverage

There’s been a lot of coverage of the meeting with Rachel Tyndall on Monday 29th.

I need to apologise to the Haringey Indepenedent. They have provided a lot of coverage but unfortunately slipped under my radar and haven’t appeared on the site. Sorry.

Hornsey Journal, 03/04/2010: Whittington Hospital: tough choices to be made, says health boss

Islington Tribune, 02/04/2010: Woman who has Whittington A&E fate in her hands

Haringey Independent, 29/03/2010: Senior doctors oppose Whittington Hospital A&E closure


Another excellent video about the march and rally.

The filmmakers who volunteered their time to make the film were:

  • Justine Gordon-Smith
  • Chris Hall
  • Grave Livingstone
  • Maggie Pallat.

Day of Action

April 5th, 2010 Comments off

We are going to have a day of action for the Whittington on Thursday 29th April and would like workplaces, surgeries, nurseries, housing associations etc. to organize events and hold photo opportunities during the day.  We can come round and take photos of the events you organise with a view to creating a montage for the website and distribution to the press.

Please let us know what you can do. We have posters and badges available so please let us know if you need some.

The focal point of the day will be a rally outside the Whittington from 12.00 until 14.00.  This is an opportunity to remind North Central London NHS that this is our hospital, not theirs, and to show our support for the workers and patients of the Whittington.

You can see a list of the events planned so far, and confirmed speakers for the rally, here:

Please come along if you can.

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.

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