Interim chief executive Simon Pleydell with Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition’s Shirley Franklin
Published: 17 October, 2014
by TOM FOOT
WHITTINGTON bosses have given up on their bid to become an independently-run hospital, according to chief executive Simon Pleydell.
He told a Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition meeting at St Mellitus Church, in Tollington Park, on Tuesday night that the NHS trust was no longer hoping to gain foundation trust status.
The interim chief executive said: “We are not actively pursuing foundation trust status at the moment.
“We don’t want to do it just for the sake of it. It will happen eventually when the time is right.”
The decision follows two failed attempts over the last five years to become a foundation trust, which allows the hospital board to control finances free from central government control.
Mr Pleydell was on a panel with Islington North Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, former Islington Council Labour leader Catherine West, Islington Pensioners Forum’s George Durack, Keep Our NHS Public’s Candy Udwin and Shirley Franklin, from Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition.
He added that there was “every reason to be optimistic about the hospital’s future” with an expanded maternity unit.
Ms Franklin said she had never been in favour of foundation trust status, adding that staff morale at the hospital was low and there were concerns that elderly patients were being discharged too quickly without proper “community care” being in place.
Mr Durack, 90, recalled the birth of the NHS in the late 1940s and warned that the current government was “getting rid of it bit by bit by privatisation”.
Mr Corbyn said: “If it hadn’t been for Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition the hospital would not have survived.
“If the A&E closure and ward closures the coalition fought against had gone ahead, it would have been the end for the Whittington as a local district hospital.”