#Whittington board plans rejected by thousands

March 17, 2013
  • Residents and celebs march to #savewhittington

Around 5,000 people protested on Islington’s streets on March 16 against cuts and sell-off proposals by Whittington Hospital board of directors.

They opposed the board’s plan to sell up to one third of the hospitals buildings for £17m and cut staff by around one half.

The protest was organized by Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition with support from IHOOPs.


IHOOPs at the march

Islington Trades Council, unions, such as the fire brigades’ FBU, Unite, Unison and GMB, local political parties and groups and MPs, marched down Holloway Road to rally outside the hospital.

Press and celebrities join in

Notable marchers and speakers included Islington Council leader, Catherine West, MPs, Emily Thornberry MP, London Assembly deputy chair, Jennette Arnold, Glenda Jackson MP and even Lib Dems MP Lynne Featherstone.

Camden New Journal had their own bus as well as the Ham & High. They were joined by media celebrities such as Only Fools and Horses actor Roger Lloyd-Pack, comedian Victoria Wood, former Doctor Who Sylvester McCoy and columnist Caitlin Moran.


March begins on Holloway Road


University College Hospital union members show solidarity

Speaking at the rally outside the Whittington, Islington North MP, Jeremy Corbyn, said he supported the board’s proposals to expand community care but not to replace hospital provision.

He attacked the board for a selling a hospital building some time ago only to rent it back from a company based in tax-free Channel Isles.

He continued: “Once you start portioning off bits of health service, you end up with us as tenants of the private sector rather than as the proud owners of the public sector. That’s why we are telling the hospital board we are against the sell off.

“I look at the census returns for our community. I see a fast rising population. They are all at risk without a major hospital nearby.

“We are not alone: Lewisham hospital in south London, Chase Farm Hospital, west London hospitals, all over London, the same nonsensical financial criteria is being used. Where PFI comes in to bleed the NHS dry, building are sold off, people made redundant and then services are auctioned off to the private sector to make a huge killing.”

Insane policy

Frank Dobson MP said: “It feels that I have been campaigning to save the Whittington for 1,000 years but the policy now seems to be insane. The Whittington is the safest hospital in the UK because it has a few more nurses than the national average. They now want to cut the number of nurses so that it has the average.”

Angela Sinclair, whose husband worked for the Finsbury Health Centre, a forerunner of the NHS, attacked the government for ignoring what the majority of people wanted. “They must be mad and anti-democractic,” she said.

Author and progressive campaigner, Owen Jones, lives locally and spoke at the rally. He said: “I have been overwhelmed by the response from local people who have been treated at the Whittington. But we have to link this campaign to the offensive against the NHS. This government has no mandate whatsoever to launch a privatization campaign against the NHS.”

Unison’s George Binet told the crowd that his mother in the US depended on a medicine every day to help her with terminal cancer. Despite Obama’s health care proposals, she has to spend $20 a day for it.

At the rally, a big applause followed a speech by Andrew Murray, chair of Stop the War and chief of staff for Unite.

He said: “There are two important issues – stopping war and save the NHS. You can judge politicians by how they respond to these issues.

“We should ask Cameron, if your big society can occupy Afghanistan, why is it not big enough to keep the Whittington open.”


Rally outside the Whittington

Tottenham MP David Lammy told the crowd that himself and his children were born at the Whittington. He said: “I said back in 2010 that I would chain myself to the hospital to keep it open. I haven’t changed my opinion.”

Chair of London Keep NHS Public and Camden’s NHS campaign, Candy Udwin said that there were rumours that the Whittington board may change their proposals. She said: “We don’t want them to rewrite their proposals and come up with what they had before. We want them to scrap the proposals altogether.”

Only Fools and Horses actor, Roger Lloyd Pack commented on hospital managers’ plans to increase the use care in the community. He said: “We see the walking wounded in Kentish Town Road who are being supported by care in the community. We need to get out in the streets and show our opposition to the devastation this is causing.”

Striking is effective

IHOOPs campaigners, Gary Heather and Ken Muller and spoke. Ken said that Islington members in his teachers’ union, NUT, donated £500 to the Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition Campaign.

He also said: “We know that the Whittington is important to teachers and to children. It they attack the NHS, it’s at their own risk.

“Strike action must be an important tactic. We’ve found that it has been in our campaign against free schools.”

Catherine West reminded the meeting that Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition chair person, Shirley Franklin received an Islington Mayor Civic Award in 2011 for her campaigning.

Speakers called on the protesters to join the London-wide to defend London’s NHS on 18 May.


#savethewhittington demo, final details

March 15, 2013

If you can and you would like to help IHOOPS on the demonstration please text 07950 280908 or meet up outside Highbury station at 11am (look for the IHOOPS banner). We would like help to hand out leaflets for the Stop Benefit Cuts Public Meeting on Tuesday 19th March, see attached leaflet. We would also like help carrying the banner on the demonstration.

Update from Defend Whittington Hospital Campaign

Please try to get to Highbury Corner/outside Highbury Magistrate’s Court by 11.30am, as the march will  move off promptly at 12. Speeches will take place outside the Hospital from 1.15- 2.30.

Disability Access
The Islington Tribune bus at the front of the demonstration can take people who will not be able to walk the march. We will also have join the march points at Whittington Park, and outside Archway Methodist Hall, on the Archway Roundabout.

Speakers expected are the Hospital and other health campaigns, MPs Jeremy Corbyn, Emily Thornberry, David Lammy and Frank Dobson, together with Catherine West, Leader of Islington Council, and author and columnist Owen Jones. We have invited local and national trade unionists and a celebrity or two!
Watch our website for further details

Our Facebook Event page is https://www.facebook.com/events/476539985728130/
And our Facebook Group page is https://www.facebook.com/groups/243554475615/permalink/10152183041135616/


Please sign the petition to stop the Whittington Hospital Sell-off!

#Savethewhittington demo, this Saturday, 16 March

March 13, 2013
  • Meet at 11:30 at at Highbury and Islington Station.


From the Defend Whittington Hospital Coaltion website

Join the thousands of people campaigning to stop the cuts at the Whittington Hospital on a march through Islington on 16 March.

In 2010 we saved our A&E unit. Now the hospital is planning more attacks on our health services – reduced maternity services, ward closures, fewer beds for the elderly, 570 job cuts and no onsite accommodation for nursing staff. Please support the campaign and help spread the word.

Three days to go – Latest news

Glenda Jackson actress and MP, Owen Jones, author of Chavs and Roger Lloyd Pack, Trigger from Only Fools and Horses (tbc) are among the speakers on 16 March. Be there to hear what they have to say about the threat to the hospital.

read more,  http://dwhc.org.uk/

Defend Whittington latest, Fri 1 March: Trust status delayed

March 2, 2013

From: Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition <defendwhittington@gmail.com>

Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2013
Subject: Campaign Activities – Preparation for demonstration

Hi Everyone

  1. Update You may know from local newspapers and our emails that the Whittington Hospital Trust’s application for Foundation Trust status has been delayed. They have to re-submit. It is thought that this may be due to too much cutting away of hospital facilities.

At our lobby of the Hospital Board on Wednesday afternoon, attended by a magnificent 150 people – patients, staff and trade unions and their banners – we asked whether the Board would withdraw their sell-off of beds, buildings and jobs. Despite an all-staff email informing us that they were reconsidering their proposals, they refused to answer our question. Our campaign therefore continues. You can get a flavour of the mood at the lobby here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3Bft1UNlR4&feature=youtu.be <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3Bft1UNlR4&feature=youtu.be>

  1. Planning Meeting on Monday 4th March 7.00 at Archway Methodist Church Hall (ground floor), Archway Close. The agenda is attached. We will mainly be discussing plans for the demonstration on 16th March
  2. Stewards for Demonstration At a meeting with police, attended by Emily Thornberry, MP,  George Binette (Camden Unison and Camden Trades Council) and myself we were informed that we need 100 stewards for the demonstration. We would be grateful if trades unions, in particular, and political parties, would send us lists of names of people who are prepared to help us – ASAP.
  3. Leaflets for demonstration Getting the information out by word of mouth is essential for building a good demo. We have 35,000 for distribution! You will find piles of leaflets at the reception at Whittington Park Community Centre, Yerbury Road, N19 which can be collected during office hours, and from stalls.
  4. Leafleting stalls Please join us (and do set up your own)

Saturday 2nd March  11.30 – 1.00 Junction Road exit of Archway tube station, 12 – 1.30 Nags Head, Holloway Road
Sunday 3rd March     11.00 Tesco, Stroud Green Road
Monday 4th March     7.30 – 9.30 am Finsbury Park Station, Wells Terrace Entrance
5.30 – 6.30 pm Highbury and Islington tube station
Friday 8th March        5.00-6.00 pm Finsbury Park Station, Wells Terrace Entrance

From the Camden end we have organised stalls to leaflet for the demonstration this Saturday and next (2nd and 9th) 11am – 12 at Kentish Town Co-op (next to Kentish Town tube) if any one who lives that way can help. Also Tuesday 5.30pm at Kentish Town Tube.
Also note that there will be an EMERGENCY PROTEST opposite the House of Lords on Tuesday 5th March, 1.30pm, College Green, when the proposed privatisation regulations under section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act will be discussed. There is an urgent need to raise the public profile about what this threat represents and organise action against it.

Thanks so much to everyone for your help with the campaign, and for your continued support.

Shirley Franklin
Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition

http://www.dwhc.org.uk <http://www.dwhc.org.uk>


Housing Benefits public meeting, 19 March

March 2, 2013

IHOOPs is holding a public meeting about housing benefis and the bedroom tax in March.

  • What is the government doing to Benefits?
  • How can we campaign against it?

Public meeting on 19 March at 7.00pm.

Walter Sickert Community Centre, Canonbury Crescent N1 2FB (off Essex Road). Near Essex Road Station. Buses 56, 38, 73, 476 + 341


  • Jeremy Corbyn – Labour MP
  • Eileen Short – Defend Council Housing
  • Pilgrim Tucker  – Unite Community, London & Eastern Co-ordinator
  • Tracey Lazard – CEO of Inclusion London, Deaf & Disabled Peoples Org
  • John McInally – PCS, National Vice President
  • Richard Greening – Council Deputy Leader

The government is making huge changes to the benefit system in April that will hit everybody on low incomes.

Why are they doing this?  How will these changes affect you and your family? What can we do to stop them?

Bedroom tax:

  • affecting people in social housing who the government says have a spare room
  • cuts of between 12% and 25% of Housing Benefit
  • Household Benefit Cap will start in September
  • Council Tax Benefit being cut in April
  • working age families will get 8% less this year and 18% less next year
  • Disability Living Allowance phased out and replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
  • from September all claimants with disabilities will be reassessed
  • Means testing Child Benefit
  • Social Fund Payments ends, to be replaced by an inferior scheme.

These changes to the benefit system will push many people into debt, poverty and crisis – with problems of arrears and people losing their homes. The government’s austerity cuts are destroying local public services, and far from fixing our economy the measures are driving us into further recession, low pay and joblessness. Ian Duncan Smith’s Welfare Reform Act is designed to cut 20% from the benefit system.  Already the gap between the rich and the poor in Britain is wider now than when Charles Dickens wrote Oliver Twist.

The banking and economic crisis was not caused by us, so why are we paying for it?