Campaigners battle Whittington Hospital foundation trust bid

Campaigners who battled to save the A&E department at the Whittington Hospital have vowed to fight the latest plans for an upheaval.

The Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition (DWHC), which organised the campaign to protect the A&E last year, has launched a petition against the hospital’s bid to become a foundation trust, with the slogan Hands Off Our Hospital.

The group says that the move would jeopardise the Whittington by removing it from central government control.

Shirley Franklin, the DWHC chairman, said: “It would take it out of the main system, isolating it from the NHS and putting it at serious risk of privatisation.”

The hospital has begun consulting on its plans.

Supporters say the move would give the hospital in Magdala Avenue, Highgate, greater control over spending and make it more accountable to the community – and that the government’s controversial Health and Social Care Bill requires the change to take place.

Cllr Janet Burgess, Islington Council’s health chief, said: “There’s no other option. If hospitals don’t become foundation trusts, they will be taken over by other hospitals.”

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But the DWHC says health bosses are “jumping the gun” by pushing for the change before the bill has won approval in the Lords.

The Whittington must show it is high performer to win foundation status.

It would be run more like a business and be accountable to a committee of residents, patients and staff.

The DWHC is hosting a public meeting at Archway Methodist Hall in Archway Close, Archway, at 7.30pm on Tuesday (November 22).