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Vested Interests, disingenuity and misrepresentation - what is going on at the Whittington

I was stopped by a man with a clipboard outside Budgen's this week. He wanted me to sign a petition to "Save the Whittington", and represented the "Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition (DWHC)"

DWHC was formed in 2010 with the intention of ensuring that the Accident and Emergency department at the Whittington was not closed. It was supported in this aim by many, including myself and Lynne Featherstone, and the good news is that A&E services are still available at the Whittington.

However, I now think that the DWHC is substantially misrepresenting itself in suggesting that there is a specific threat to the Whittington, or that it is any longer a local campaigning group with a local aim. DWHC has become part of a simply political national campaign to oppose the coalition plans to change the NHS. This is disingenuous if not actually dishonest. I did not sign the petition on the day outside Budgen's and I think I will not now sign it as there is no specific threat to the Whittington.

Having said that DWHC is now misrepresenting itself, however, does not necessarily mean that it is wrong in its aims, which are (/were?) to prevent Lansley's NHS changes becoming law. 

There is no doubt in my recollection that in order to get elected Cameron promised 'no top down reorganisation of the NHS'. What is now going through Parliament is a top down reorganisation of the NHS. This is clearly madness. Making any set of changes to any organisation is a high risk process. To attempt to do it simultaneously with a massive cost cutting exercise is almost sure to fail. No wonder they haven't published the risk analysis.

There are without doubt vested interests at work. And remember this is the NHS - the sums of money involved are staggering.

DWHC claims that becoming a Foundation Trust will mean that the Whittington will only be able to deliver service which make a surplus. I have no idea what this means nor how to verify the claim.

The Whittington itself has been floundering around neither succeeding nor failing to become a Foundation Trust for a very long time. This scrutiny review by Haringey of an attempt to achieve Foundation status goes back to 2007.

Maybe we can get a bit more info at this meeting on Clinical Commissioning on Tuesday

Tags: nhs, reforms, whittington

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