The Independent London Newspaper


LETTERS: Why so defensive?

Published: 28 February 2014

• STEVE Hitchins has not got off to a good start as the new chair of Whittington Hospital. He turned up uninvited to Tuesday’s meeting of the health scrutiny committee at the Town Hall.

I was chairing the meeting, and had invited hospital chief executive Yi Mien Koh to talk about the resignation of her head of nursing, which as she explained was due to promotion, not frustration with the hospital.

Mr Hitchins sat himself down on the front bench next to the chief executive and proceeded to interrupt her, cut across her and butt in to answer questions that I had asked her.

I had to ask him not to do this. He was rude, confrontational and excessively defensive when, for example, I made a simple observation that the foundation trust application process had been “delayed”.

He became agitated and denied that there was any “delay”, taking my comment as if it were intended to be a criticism.

He then got into an argument with Councillor Kaya Makarau-Schwartz when she made an observation that recent appointments to the board had significantly reduced minority representation. Again, I had to ask him to behave. It was impossible to have a proper discussion about the hospital. 
I fail to see how the Whittington can rebuild trust in the community with such an aggressive, confrontational and excessively defensive person as chair.  
Labour chair, health scrutiny committee

• WHITTINGTON Hospital will be opening a tuberculosis clinic shortly. As there is an epidemic in certain parts of the capital, this is most welcome.

However, it’s a bit like the closing of the proverbial stable door. We need to screen on entry into the UK.

Once again, NHS resources will be stretched. Our politicians on all sides have let us down.



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