This blog is on fire

January 25, 2011

Check this out:

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Well a quick pad on the back for me before I am on to my next (depressing) blog entry…


There was a really good news item on BBC London news last night, covering the rally and the campaign victory. Unfortunately I can’t see it online anywhere.

But here is the link to an article on their website.

I am still over-joyed by yesterdays news and  last night even had a couple of non-alcoholic beers to celebrate. Ohh …these wild parties when you’re  nearly 38 weeks pregnant…

Some people have rightly warned that the situation after the election needs to be very carefully monitored and I agree.

It’s still unclear if there are policies already in place to undermine the financial viability of the Whittington and this needs to be investigated further.  Also we mustn’t forget that the Primary Care Trust and the North Central London NHS are unelected, unaccountable quangos who are impossible to scrutinize. We also now know that you can’t rely on the information they give out, such as their claim to have evidence, which turns out to be no evidence after all.

Just reading the BBC article: “An NHS London spokesman said “there are no plans” to downgrade A&E or maternity at the Whittington.”

Has this person read the North Central London Strategy Plan 2010 – 2014 ?

If not, how incompetent can a spokesperson be not to be aware of such an important document?

If yes, why is he/she lying ?

Or did he/she meant to say that the Strategy Plan has become obsolete? Why didn’t he/she make that clear then ? 

Anyway – you can see there is some more blogging to be done but I am definitely a lot more confident about the future of the Whittington then before. I’ll also continue to entertain you with my little pregnancy adventures as you guys seem to like them.

But for now I’ll get ready to enjoy the bank holiday weekend. I hope you do, too 🙂 Have fun !

I took this from Islington Tribune website. I assume it's their copyright. Dear Tribune, please don't sue me for breach of copyright. I am so happy today :))

Today the Islington Tribune revealed that Health Secretary Andy Burnham contacted their news desk and said he ordered a “COMPLETE HALT” to the plans to close the Whittington !

Talking to the Tribune Mr. Burnham said: “I will order a complete halt in the process that is being run and I’m asking NHS London to go back to the drawing board. As a government we only support changes in the NHS when the local clinicians propose them and when there is evidence that they will improve quality and save lives.”


“The Whittington A&E is a vital service in its local community. This is a service in which we have invested £32 million over the past few years and as far as I’ve seen there is no clinical evidence or clinical support for any kind of downgrading or closure. On that basis, it’s simply inconceivable that Labour would support the closing or downgrading of the Whittington A&E or its maternity service.”

Click here to read the whole article.

This is brilliant, brilliant news ! Yippehh ! We can all have our babies in peace at the Whittington now and THEN take them to the children’s A&E if there’s something wrong with them !!! I never thought I’d anticipate giving birth and possible trips to the A&E with so much excitement :)))

I guess it’s still worth turning up to the day of action today as it will be a big party instead now. Yippehhh ! Shame I can’t be there….

Everyone who went on the march, wrote letters, clicked on this blog to make it as popular as it is WELL DONE ! WE DID IT !

No worries. I’ll keep an eye on things and make sure all this is still valid after the election – so don’t abandon this blog just yet!

But in the meantime: Let’s celebrate !!!! How I envy everyone who can actually drink some alcohol today….

Oh my god ! I have really taken my eye off the ball regarding the Whittington in the last week. Just saw this on the NCT Haringey facebook group:

“Maternity Services Liaison Committee Meeting this Friday 23rd, 12-2pm at Holbrook House, Cockfosters.

Your chance to have your voice heard by those both commissioning and providing Haringey’s maternity services.

Contact Polly Faber at polly.faber[AT] if you’d like to come or have an experience you’d like her to share with them on your behalf.”

Unfortunately I won’t be able to go tomorrow but will e-mail Polly with questions regarding the future of the maternity services at the Whittington.

My sincere apologies for not surfacing on this blog for a week.  Someone I know is in an absolutely terrifying situation and I have spent a lot of time over the last week trying to help him. If you want to help click here and here. Thank you !

I agree I shouldn’t have to deal with all this crap  at 36 weeks pregnant. Thank you bureaucrats of the UK ! I hope you enjoy your salaries and that one day your decisions which messed up peoples’ lives BIG  TIME will come back to haunt you ! Anyway the sh** has hit the fan and it’s the same with the Whittington – It’s very hard to sit back, watch and do nothing when you know that peoples lives are on the line.

Don't forget to take a sieve to the Birth Centre

Anyway – in between all this I do manage to get ready for the baby. Last weekend I finally managed to…pack my hospital bag ! Yay !

Well – when I say hospital BAG – it’s an understatement. It’s like a hospital SUITCASE – yes – the big one my partner and I usually take for both of us on a two-week holiday. I feel like I am about to move into the Whittington.

Yes – I do feel ridiculous taking all these things. But I have never given birth before.  I have no clue what I will need. I am a minimalist by nature so if it would have been up to me I’d probably have taken a couple of nappies and a book for the journey to the Whittington….

But luckily there are “what to take” lists for naive people like me. I chose to focus only on the three most reliable lists: The one in Chapter 8 of  the NHS pregnancy book, the one I have been given by the NCT and the one I have been given during my antenatal classes by a midwife from the Woodside team….and I have ended up with a Hospital SUITCASE….oh well…

I finally finished packing on Sunday and was proud of myself for getting it all done….only to turn up for my Birth Centre assessment at the Whittington on Monday to be given…yet another list…”what to take to the Birth Centre”…and of course there were two items I hadn’t yet packed: a mirror and a sieve.

While I could guess why they suggest to bring a mirror (not a terribly pleasant thought) I had no clue what the sieve is for…

I have since found out. Trust me you don’t want to know…unless of course you’re an expectant mother like me and need to know…in which case – e-mail me at whittingtonmum[AT] and I tell you in private . Or ask your midwife 🙂

Yesterday I had my 31 week-check up with my absolutely wonderful midwife from the Whittington’s Woodside team.

I am happy to report that everything seems well and baby is growing as it should 🙂 But apparently by now I should have noticed a pattern on when the baby moves. Being a not very observant mother I haven’t yet noticed any pattern so now my task is to record my babies movement in a chart. Ticking the boxes every time the baby moves feels a bit weird but since I’ve been doing it I realized that baby moves a lot more than I was aware of. And that is very re-assuring.

As usual it was lovely to see my midwife and she patiently answered all my many questions. She has also very efficiently booked a birth centre assessment for me at the Whittington in April. I really hope I will be able to give birth at the centre. Fingers crossed.

Where are all these highly diligent and competent midwives, like mine, are going to go if Whittington maternity closes? Are they really all going to transfer to big birthing factories, where – according to Cathy Warwick – they fear they can’t deliver the personal standard of care they want to give? Will these midwives be able to bear to compromise their professional standards to such an extent? Or will many of them make a very difficult choice: Set up as independent midwives and only work for well-to-do patients but deliver the care they feel is neccessary. And who then is left to deliver the other babies? I for one can’t afford private health care – and I reckon the vast majority of  mums in Haringey can’t either.

It annoys me so very much that NHS bureaucrats are earning a fortune for making ridiculous plans.  Just one example:  according to Lee Scott, MP the chief executive in the Barking, Havering and Redbridge trust got a substantial pay-off for working up one of the largest deficits in this country.

While the bureaucrats get rich no matter how awful their mistakes are  fantastic frontline staff are driven either out of the NHS system or into the ground by the system.

I still believe that we can win this fight. But only if all of us pull together.

So please tell everyone you know about these plans (I’m still meeting people who have not heard about it) and ask them to sign the petition and ask their friends, too.

Don’t mention the W*

March 15, 2010

*W = Whittington

As mentioned earlier I went to the Haringey LINk meeting today.

Celia Ingham-Clark, Medical Director from the Whittington Hospital could not attend the meeting because she was meeting the Health Minister today.

So instead we had Dr Richard Jennings, Clinical Director for Medicine at the Whittington Hospital talking to us about who uses A&E.

The first thing the Chair of Haringey LINk told us when opening the meeting was that Dr Jennings would only speak generally about A&E and not take any questions about the future of the Whittington. I quickly realized that yet again I would not be able to get answers to the questions I really wanted to ask.

Dr Jennings gave us some very general  information such as that A&E attendances have gone up by 30% in the last years and that the numbers have been rising year on year. He also mentioned that there were estimates that 60% of patients currently attending A&E could be treated elsewhere, that some clinicians felt that this number was closer to 20% – 30% but that he couldn’t really give us an exact figure.

I was surprised he didn’t mention the research by the Primary Care Foundation, which puts the percentage of patients who would be more effectively treated elsewhere  at 10%. So I asked him about this and how he would explain the huge discrepancies (50 %) in the figures.

He replied that he was familiar with the research I referred to (why not mention it in the first place then?). And that these numbers had made clinicians think about how many patients could realistically be treated elsewhere. He tought the discrepancies were down to the fact that no clearly defined remit had been established against which one could compare and analyse the figures.

I wasn’t the only one who found the “only general questions”  rule frustrating. Karen Jennings asked if it is true that A&E patients in ambulances are already diverted away from the Whittington A&E department. As far as I understood it the “general” answer was that for certain conditions like major trauma and heart attacks there were good reasons to by-pass an A&E department and be transported to more specialists units.

She also asked if the A&E closes would the maternity services be closed down as well. To which Dr. Jennings in very general terms replied that A&E and maternity units were not intrinsically linked but that one would need a lot of specialist support to run a maternity unit.  I would interpret this very vague answer as a yes – if A&E closes a hospital  is unlikely to be able to maintain a full maternity unit.

I could not stay until the end because I had an ante-natal appointment so I don’t know if there would have been more opportunities for more informal discussions later on.

I found the meeting extremely  frustrating. What were the organisers of the public meeting thinking? You invite someone to talk about an issue which gets everyone’s blood boiling but you are only allowed to ask “general questions” ??!!!?

I am just now reading the LINk brochure I was given at the event. It says that “Your LINk can look into specific issues of concern to the community”.  So why do we have to discuss specific issues in the most general of terms ?

Several years ago I lived in a country that was – and still is – in the grip of a notorious dictator who will make the lives of people who speak out against him very, very difficult. So some issues can only be discussed in the most general of terms and everyone has to second guess from the vague statements of other people what they are actually trying to say without getting into too much trouble. 

The public meeting today reminded me quite a bit of life in the above country.

More about the meeting on Karen Jennings blog.

Why on earth is it so difficult to get straight forward answers to some very simple questions ?

The good news is that while I might not have succeeded today I will not give up trying to understand what is really going on and why there is so much secrecy surrounding the whole Whittington business.

The minute I get more answers you guys will be the first to know. So please bear with me on this blog.

In the meantime: Why not get a couple of more people to sign the petition?

Click here for the link to e-mail to all your mates.