Rush to Downing Street to meet three very, very old ladies who have come to present a petition to Patricia Hewitt via No 10! The Prayer (wording) on the petition reads:
We the undersigned condemn: the neglect of Hornsey Hospital and its site; the neglect of older peoples’ services in Haringey; the failure to inform and consult with local people. We the undersigned demand that services promised for older people at Hornsey Central are provided at the site with no sell-off of NHS property.
It is signed by over 500 signatories – but there could have been many, many more. I myself have met with both local and London-wide NHS officials to try to ensure that the proceeds from the sale of part of the site go back into the redevelopment of the site – as despite our protests I fear they are steamrollering through the sale of the land.
The three ladies were fantastic. I just hope I am like that in my advanced years. Hetty Bower is 101 years old, Violet Reiners was born in 1915 and Alison Flora Selford was born in 1920. I met them, and Janet Shaprio (who organised all of this) outside the railings at Downing Street. So we went through security. The police and guards were all soooo nice to us and we took lots of photos before knocking on the door of No 10. Sadly, T Blair didn’t open it and invite us in for tea! I thought how lovely it would have been if he had! Although I think he might have got the wrong end of our tongues if he had. The trio of ladies may have been old in years – but vigorous of conviction they definitely were. It was a joy to meet them.
Now I must pursue a request in the covering letter from Janet Shapiro to ask for a debate in the House of Commons on recent changes in NHS funding, and in particular the involvement of private partners. So that will go to Patricia Hewitt – and I will try in Business Questions next week to catch Mr Speaker’s eye to also ask for that same debate!