The Whittington's future shape

Iwent to a meeting at the Whittington on Thursday night – held to begin the discussion about future health services with key stakeholders. 

We were all sat at tables and the facilitator got each table to do the usual note taker plus rapporteur on the conversation had at the table. The question posed – was pretty broad – in that it asked what was important to us in taking forward the Whittington.

The threat to the A &E and maternity has gone for now. However, we need to not only be vigilant as the future shape of services at the Whittington, in the community and in primary care, come forward – but remain engaged and watchful about what decisions are taken about health services locally. Hence – it will be very important that local people (whose passion and power combined with a timely general election) saved the Whittington – to take part in these meetings – of which this was just the first.

What was heartening was the thoughtfulness and considered ideas that came forward from each table during the feedback session. The most obvious was that everyone wanted local emergency and health services near to where they lived and easily accessible. But there were a host of suggestions about integrated care, the transition from hospital to home, the need to keep core services to ensure that A&E and maternity were supported, the possibility of looking at what (if any) savings could be made between the three hospitals (UCH, Royal Free and Whittington) working out between them who did what on special services maybe – and really a lot more – including GPs being more involved with the hospital, concerns that private contracts would increase and a recognition that the population that depends on the Whittington has low car ownership, often has English as a second language, needs public transport to access services and so on.

Despite the fact that there will be a real terms increase in the NHS budget (of 1%) the increase in population around hte Whittington and increasing demand for services will rise 6% – so savings will have to be found.

It is crucial that we fight for the services we want.

0 thoughts on “The Whittington's future shape

  1. The Whttington Hospital and its staff have looked after our family well and we look forward to improved services and a better quipped building not any threats of closure.

  2. I was born there in 1973, my 3 siblings were born there, my severly handicapped brother utilised the whittington all his life, and still does.
    Its proximity is important to many.
    My mother had important chemo there throughout 2006-07, and unfortunately died there in 2007.
    My two eldest children have been rushed there during many nights with potentially lethal conditions.
    My one week old son jake was born there last week in the new whittington birth center, which was relaxed, colourful and fantastic.


  3. Want to congratulate all those at Whittington Hospital especially Women’s Health Clinics – have received amazing care and consideration since last week from the appointments folk- ultrasound staff to name a few due to female medical concern which has just to light. I have been given swift access to medical treatment.
    I would not want to see these already excellent established clinics – highly regarded by other medical professionals moved to another hospital. Maybe the Whittington could become the centre for Women’s Health!(if there has to be different clinics based at only one hospital)

    I know many other women would also agree to the support and treatment they have/are receiving from the Whittington Hospital. These vital services must continue for the local people…….

    Well done!

  4. Lynne, I agree that with you that “It is crucial that we fight for the services we want.”

    Can we take it that you be joining people from your constituency on October 18 (5.30pm at Wood Green Library and 6.30pm at the town hall) at a march and rally to protest at Government cuts to public services then?

  5. Yes I agree with Mark McDowell – why are we even having this debate?

    Lynne says the Whittington A&E has been “saved” – but it hasn’t, there is no official announcement to say that, it’s just political spin.

    The Con-Lib coalition’s real agenda is to cut services and dismantle the NHS. Go and talk to your buddies in the Tory party Lynne, and ask them what they really think.

  6. I agree with all you say about the Whittington and am happy to support it. But can you please turn your focus onto CPZ in Crouch End? We don’t want it. And a number of local shops don’t want it, either, as it will mean customer turn-off. The Council has crept in by stealth, annexing streets around Shepherds Hill, Hurst Avenue etc and compressing parking until we are “forced” to accept it in Bedford Road, and other streets going down to the Broadway. The imposition of parking meters in Crouch Hall Road and along the Broadway just served to make people park in surrounding areas like Bedford Road just in order to avoid paying – after all, it’s been free for the last 100 years and parking worked before with implicit agreement between residents and casual parkers until the Council decided to interfere, so why do we have to pay now to park outside our own houses? Parking meters in Crouch Hall Road and in the Broadway are forcing drivers to look for the nearest street with no charges. Hey! Presto!- the Council can now say that parking in Bedford Road is becoming congested (no suggestion that because of parking restrictions imposed by the Council have actually caused the problem!) so CPZ is the answer – of course it is! A nice little earner at £50 pa – for THIS year – and next year, once the precedent is laid down, the Council can make it £150. And so it will go on.
    I’m a cynic. There’s nothing that will convince me that once the Local

    And the other side of it is “the charges will only be £50.” – For the first year. And for next year, once the Council have pushed the measure through and got their hands on raising money? I would confidently predict the next year’s cost will be “only £100” as they have to raise more revenue. Like water meters – “You can save money by having your water measured, and you will be saving money and helping the environment – it costs nothing to have a water meter installed” What nobody says is that once the measures (by law) have been pushed through, there’s no recourse back to how things were. The original price may have only been fixed at £50pa – but once it’s metered, there’s nothing to stop the Water Company charging what they think they can get away with, as they control the flow of water into your house.

    There’s an old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. There is nothing wrong with parking as it is – everyone who’s a car owner accepts that parking is difficult, and from time to time we can’t park outside our house. But that’s been the case since 1973. All that’s happened so far is that people who’ve had CPZ imposed outside their houses are looking for free parking in our area to avoid CPZ charges, and crowding our streets – allowing proponents of CPZ to claim our street is crowded and therefore we should have CPZ imposed. It’s a pincer movement to force us to have CPZ. Already I have a neighbour who shrugs her shoulders and says “Well, I was against it when I moved here, but the Council’s going to force us onto it, so why should I bother?” CPZ is invidious… In the end, it’s all about tax “creep”.

    So far, this street/highway is free and a public road (and I believe there’s some legislation that acknowledges – so far – we don’t have to pay for the bit of road outside our house? – we contribute to the public highways and byways through taxes – and outside this house is a public highway) so why are we being asked to pay to park on the public highway, which we’re already paying taxes for in terms of upkeep and general maintenance?

    An answer would be appreciated.

  7. Thank you for your interest in saving the Whittington. It is much appreciated.

    Cost cutting is vital and one of the first things that should be dispensed with is the services of translators. People who seek the services of the NHS should be able to speak the language and should not be living here if they do not have a good command of English.

    Overseas visitors who seek NHS treatment must pay or have travel insurance and therefore should be asked to pay if there is an emergency.

    There needs to be a system in place before anyone can enter this country ensuring that visitors from overseas have a clean bill of health. No-one should be allowed into the UK with an illness if there is a possibility that treatment may become necessary.


  8. Timing is unfortunately with me on this reply…
    …..back to the whittington A&E today. two year old son scolds his arm on some boiling water.
    The Whittington A&E is so important to families in the area..!
    I pay a lot of tax, because i’m one of those horrible city traders… please leave it alone or spend more money on it making it better!
    I HATE dickhead cival servants who come up with these cost saving idea’s.
    They make these decisions without understanding the dynamic’s of the area… the show ‘undercover boss’ is a great example of how ‘the management’ learn about their business and change work practise’s & nonsense decision’s, once they know how the company (borough) really works.
    please could somebody send me the name of one of these really clever, well paid, fantastically gilt edged pension potted idiots who came up with Closing parts of the fantastic Whittington…

    Keep going Lynne!

  9. Whilst I acknowledge we need a local hospital, I think that hospital should have high standards of care and a keen regard for cleanliness. Unfortunately I have had a lot of experience of the Whittington, over a 20 year period, and for most of that time have found it to be less than satisfactory.
    I find it hard to believe that the high earners at the hospital are not more accountable to their local communities. And in amongst all the current changes in politics, some rather questionable in respect to the notion/promotion of Equality and Diversity, the idea of local services being more ‘accountable’ is rather an attractive prospect.

  10. I remember the Whittington a few years ago being not so good and having to remove my daughter from a trolley in A&E (having been there for 14 hours) and taking her down to Berkshire to be treated immediately.

    Then, the Whittington turned itself around with a new building, better A&E and now, an excellent (having experienced it) Maternity department.

    I see the main problem is the insecurity of the staff. Having experienced the services, it seems that staff in one dept don’t seem to know about staff or even consultants in another department.

    This tells me (knowing the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, where staff have been there for years and everyone know each other and who to refer to) that the staff do not feel part of the fabric that makes the place tick.

    The staff clearly need to be made more secure, with longevity of service counting for something. In this case knowledge and wisdom outside their own sphere. Living in their temporary contracted bubble does not give me confidence as to who they would refer me to if necessary. Also, it can do nothing to make them feel part of a community.

    Recently, my daughter was sent to one unit by her GP, only to be told that they could not insert a drip in her arm and was sent to A&E.
    She then sat in A&E for 3 hours and was told that it was ridiculous that she had to wait so long. Then she was sent back to the unit the GP had referred her to, to have the procedure completed.

    What the Whittington needs is a strong old fashioned Matron and although I am a great supporter of the hospital, I am glad I am going back to the Royal Berks Hosp later this month to have major surgery; done by a well known and respected consultant at that hospital and in the area.

    I used to sit on the West Berks Community Heath Council, which the last government disbanded (one of the bodies they swept away throughout the country) and replaced them with some toothless groups or quangos.

    At the WBCHC, we visited all aspects of the health service, including GP surgeries, Mental Health units (including Broadmoor Hosp), Day centres and Hospitals. All voluntarily.
    We saw and reported what was going on to the appropriate people in authority and followed up to see improvements.

    Alas, this is missing now.