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The Whittington Hospital PFI company has gone bust - . . . . the site reverted to the hospital at no cost

Hard to believe I know, but I am simply quoting from this DWHC newsletter. 
Firstly why should a PFI company go bust - they are the beneficiaries of a stream of income which anyone would envy?
Secondly, PFI companies drove very hard bargains. Why would the administrator of the failing company give up an asset on the scale of the Whittington, for nothing in return?
I have made no effort to discover the answers to these questions and remain Profoundly Flaming Ignorant.
Hi Everyone,

When I wrote our last newsletter, Covid hadn’t caused its sadness and havoc.
Since then the Government has disastrously managed the pandemic: 
    • decided to lockdown far too late
      they screwed up the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) (although our hospital just about managed not to run out)
    • they privatised much necessary Covid provision such as test and trace, showing themselves to be corrupt and incompetent
    • they sent kids back to school and students back to Universities without sorting out the test and trace system
    • after endlessly clapping them they didn't give our underpaid NHS staff and carers the pay rise they so deserved after working so tirelessly on the front-line.
Throughout the period we have kept in touch with the management of the Hospital, who along with the North Central  London NHS have the challenge of meeting Covid requirements in addition to our health needs.

Below are our notes of the most recent meeting. We hope you find them interesting.

Can we also recommend that you sign every petition you see protecting NHS and carer’s pay,  against the privatisation of any of our NHS, against any trade deals with the USA.


Fightback Campaign

The People Before Profit Campaign (see https://www.facebook.com/peopleb4profit), started by the National Healthworkers group, has been created to unite people to oppose the Covid cuts,  privatisation, decrease in furlough.

They have  launched an Emergency Programme for Jobs, Services and Safety. 

👉 If you missed it you can watch it on You Tube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJ-ytHpcXNg

👉You can sign up to the programme to show your support right now here: http://peoplebefore-profit.com/

👉The model motion for trade union branches and campaign groups is downloadable here: http://peoplebefore-profit.com/resources/

- also do check out this important film 'The Great NHS Heist?'  
And Islington Trades Council open meeting on Tuesday with Laura Pidcock



Notes from DWHC Meeting with Whittington Health

Monday 28th September 2-2.45 pm


Siobhan Harrington     CEO Whittington Health

Jonathan Gardner       Director of Strategy and Corporate Affairs

Andrew Sharratt          Ass. Director of Communications and Engagement

Shirley Franklin           Chair Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition

Valerie Lipman            Secretary, DWHC

Martin Franklin            Meetings Chair, Zoom Organiser, DWHC


1. Covid 19 and Arrangements for managing Covid in NCL

To date the hospital has not seen much of a dramatic rise in Covid patients - they have had between one and six Covid patients, one long-stay patient in the past month and no deaths. There are no figures available on excess deaths.

 At the start of the first wave of Covid they made new arrangements to cater for the huge numbers of patients they were to receive. This meant radically reducing elective surgery. North Central London - the 5 local boroughs of Camden (incl Royal Free Hospital, UCLH, Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital (GOSH)), Islington (Whittington), Haringey, Enfield (North Middlesex) and Barnet (Barnet, part of the Royal Free) - made special arrangements for paediatrics - now this is organised so that children's A and E and inpatient for the north of the area is provided by Barnet and North Middlesex, while Whittington caters for paediatric A and E and inpatients in the South. GOSH will continue to provide an enhanced role for urgent elective inpatient and some day surgery.

 UCLH and Royal Free Hospitals will have expanded Adult Covid care facilities, particularly Intensive Care Units.

Meanwhile the Whittington Hospital has an A and E department for all, and continues to provide care for the whole local population including adults, maternity services, CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services) and children as above.  Whittington also continues to provide elective and non-elective day surgery and in-patient mainly non-elective care (although more elective care while as currently, they have very low numbers of Covid patients). They also run Simmons House, a CAMHS residential facility.

There are large stockpiles of PPE. ITU at UCLH and RFL have expanded. Whittington have converted Bridges to a day treatment centre to increase endoscopy and day treatment capacity and have expanded their children’s ward (see above). There has been displacement of some services from the Whittington, such as inpatient orthopaedics, to UCLH and other hospitals. 

These are TEMPORARY winter arrangements, highly influenced by planning for a second wave of Covid. They are to be reviewed in March 2021. We will be keeping our beady eyes on them as some have been concerned about the loss of paediatric care at the RF and UCLH hospitals. Currently, we trust the NCL and our hospital to reorganise health care to cover the challenges and demands that Covid brings. 


Other Covid Issues

There have been no staff deaths that the hospital has told us about. But we are aware of the death of a hospital porter and a nurse who was on maternity leave when she became ill. It is claimed that these were not Covid-related deaths.

Staff testing – All staff with symptoms, and their children, are tested (as are all patients). The numbers testing positive are constantly changing, at one point they had nearly 20% off, now only 0.4% of sickness is Covid related.

Older People

People are being tested before being discharged back to care homes and those found to be positive are not sent back to care homes. They are considering designating Covid wards in the community hospitals for patients that are still infectious. 

All discharged patients with Covid are followed up and have a follow up contact with the respiratory team.  Also WH district nurses have teamed up with practice nurses in GP surgeries and are doing home visits to people who are vulnerable. 

The readmission rate of patients was 8% for non-elective patients during the first wave and is now back at a normal 6% level.


2. Staffing

We asked about staff morale, considering the traumatic experiences of staff during the height of the pandemic. SH told us that staff well-being and mental health is a priority for her - we are in it together. She is keeping an eye on this. We were told that management seemed satisfied (based on focus group feedback) that staff were holding up well.  A badge is being issued to all staff in recognition of their efforts and resilience. 

 There have been no changes in staffing levels.  The vacancy rate has risen slightly to 11.5% in August, and staff turnover has fallen to 9%. The extra workload is mainly covered by Bank Staff.  Use of agency staff has been lower than usual. They welcome the increase, nationally, in nurse training.


3. Brexit

We were told that they look out for all, and that they continue to support European staff in their applications for settled status.


4. BAME Staff

Covid has exposed the poor experiences of many BAME NHS staff.

40.2% of the staff are classified as BAME and 37.8% as white.

SH assured us that care and promotion of BAME staff is a priority.

Currently BAME staff are well presented in middle-management, and there is a BAME member of staff on every recruitment panel for senior management in the Trust. However BAME representation on the Board Executive is NIL, 11% on the Board as a whole, and 22% of the Board voting members. There is a target for at least one BAME Board executive member.

This is a concern that we will be checking in future.

5. Estates 

Following issues regarding patients finding it challenging to negotiate the main building we asked how future building design will ensure full accessibility for people. We were assured that this will be a key factor in the design stage. We also requested more and improved signage. We were reassured that masked volunteer helpers are still guiding people round the hospital site.

6. PFI - Good news!
The PFI is something that has concerned us ever since it was initiated in the 1980's to finance the frontage of the hospital, and including the foyer, reception, Xray departments, etc. This incurred payments to the company to cover the £30 million cost of the building and maintenance of the site and imaging equipment, etc.

The PFI company has GONE BUST. WH now owns the site and that part of the building. Negotiations are still taking place regarding outstanding maintenance, but the site reverted to the hospital at no cost. This means that WH will benefit financially since the annual PFI repayments have gone.

Shirley Franklin
Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition
We support the Justice4Grenfell campaign - please show your support any way you can.

We welcome your feedback - do look at our website pages, Facebook and twitter.
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Attachments area
Preview YouTube video Launch: An Emergency Programme for Jobs, Services and safety
Launch: An Emergency Programme for Jobs, Services and safety
Preview YouTube video The Great NHS Heist - Short edit
The Great NHS Heist - Short edit

Tags: hospital, whittington

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This link may help  https://www.constructionnews.co.uk/health-and-safety/london-hospita...

"Negotiations about the costs to the taxpayer and how the remediation will be paid for are ongoing with administrator Deloitte." is not what I would call "no cost".

Thanks. It was very lazy of me not to find this myself.

So, to reiterate.

6. PFI - Good news!

  • Unspecified but clearly extensive problems,
  • unquantified and unfunded remediation costs,
  • a pandemic and 
  • a massive recession. 


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