Press release: Residents fighting against the privatisation of the Whittington hospital

Whittington Hospital management board. 4 June 2014

Residents fighting against the privatisation of one of London’s largest hospitals of one of London’s largest hospitals are set for a showdown with its management.

Locals angered by the contracting out of services at the Whittington Hospital in Archway will rally outside the hospital ahead of the board’s monthly meeting on the 4th February.

The rally, which is being organised by the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG), aims to raise awareness of the hospital’s plight.

The organisation, which has already asked to be included in the meeting agenda, will question senior figures of the board, including its Chair Steve Hitchins, about creeping privatisation at the hospital.

A spokesperson for the RCG said: “This is a rally against austerity and the privatisation of the Whittington Hospital. The sell-off of services by the board is wholly undemocratic and ideologically-driven. Furthermore, the idea that companies should be allowed to make a profit out of a person’s illness and infirmity is deplorable.”

Protesters hope the meeting will be an opportunity to obtain reassurances about the future of the hospital as well as a commitment to keep the hospital in public hands. It is the latest attempt by the group to demand answers from the board, following a meeting last June, when it presented the board with more than 5,000 petition signatures.

“The hospital board operates with impunity, and is in no way accountable to the public taxpayer. It may well hold monthly meetings in public, but these are very deliberately organised during the daytime, when most people are at work. Those that do turn up are discouraged from taking part as there is no obvious way to be included on the agenda.

“Furthermore, when we asked board members straightforward questions about their privatisation drive last time, they walked out rather than address them. Their contempt for the public knows no bounds” said the spokesperson.

The 7,500 signatures have been collected during weekly stalls in Archway and Holloway Road amid growing calls by residents and hospital users to save its public services.

“Unipart, Sodexo, Harmoni, Care UK, DictateIT and Ernst & Young, are just the tip of the privatisation iceberg. The National Health Service that we all know and love is barely recognisable at the Whittington and, despite stopping the sale of the hospital in 2013, the board is now determined to sell the hospital from the inside out by contracting out services to private firms.

“With global financial figures published last month revealing the UK to be the fifth largest economy in the world, the argument for austerity is increasingly being exposed as little more than a shameless lie designed to justify the government’s ideological push towards privatisation. The 500,000 hospital-users have had eight years of austerity forced upon them and are rightly fighting back.”

ENDS

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Notes to editors

More information about the Revolutionary Communist Group, its campaigns and publications can be found at www.revolutionarycommunist.org

The group’s newspaper, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, is produced bimonthly (www.frfi.co.uk).

The RCG hosts a stall every Saturday on Holloway Road and Junction Road in Archway to raise awareness of, and collect petition signatures against, the cuts to the Whittington Hospital.

The RCG is campaigning in solidarity with the ‘Defend The Whittington Hospital Coalition’ (http://dwhc.org.uk/).

The Whittington Hospital Trust board meeting will take place on the 4th February from 2pm to 5pm at the Whittington Education Centre, Magdala Avenue, N19 5NF.

The RCG is encouraging as many people to attend the rally as possible, and have their say at the meeting.