Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Public meeting on government proposals for NHS

15 September 2010

Hackney watchdog to hold meeting on
government proposals for the NHS
Hackney Local Involvement Network (Hackney LINk), the borough’s watchdog for health and adult social care services, is to hold a public meeting to coordinate a local response to the government’s proposals for the NHS.
The meeting will take place on Thursday 23 September at 6.30pm at Morley Hall, City Edge, 125-127 Mare Street, E8 3RH. Local MP Meg Hillier will be among the speakers.
Malcolm Alexander, Chair of Hackney LINk, said the LINk was aiming to lead the local response to the government’s recent NHS White Paper by bringing together MPs, councillors, the voluntary sector and the general public.
“There are concerns that this White Paper puts the National Health Service at considerable risk. We don’t want to wake up one day and find that our healthcare has gone to the private sector and that the NHS has been left as nothing more than a brand name. That’s why we need to organise a powerful response now. We must ensure that the NHS is fully accountable to patients and the public and is focused on their needs, not the need to make profits out of healthcare.”
The speakers at the meeting will include:
• Meg Hillier (Member of Parliament for Hackney South and Shoreditch)
• Patrick Vernon (Chief Executive of the Afiya Trust and local councillor)
• Dot Gibson (Keep Our NHS Public and General Secretary of the National Pensioners Convention)
• Malcolm Alexander (Chair of the National Association of LINks Members and Chair of Hackney LINk)

After hearing from the speakers the meeting will break into discussion groups to plan tactics for responding to the issues raised in the White Paper.

The position of Hackney LINk is that it:
• Aims to provide leadership on the White Paper bringing together MPs, councillors, the voluntary sector and the general public;
• Is committed to securing the NHS as a publicly funded body free at the point of use;
• Opposes privatisation of health and social care services and the transfer of taxpayers’ money to private healthcare companies;
• Notes that the main thrust of the White Paper is to privatise both the commissioning and providing of services;
• Is concerned that the government has no mandate from the recent election for the further privatisation of health and social care services;
• Welcomes the government’s desire to promote shared decision-making between doctors and patients, and believes this will be best achieved by letting GPs concentrate on treating patients rather than becoming commissioners and bureaucrats;
• Welcomes the government’s concern for accountability, but fears the transfer of commissioning from PCTs to GPs will harm the doctor-patient relationship, reduce accountability and require the use of expensive consultancy services and private healthcare companies;
• Believes that 50% of the people on all NHS commissioning/planning boards should be patients and members of local HealthWatch;
• Fears the White Paper proposals will lead to the NHS becoming bogged down in another round of reforms causing havoc to patient care for the next five years;
• Wishes to support the growth and development of the voluntary sector, but not at the expense of public provision of health and social care;
• Regards the massive cuts in the voluntary sector as inconsistent with the government’s notion of a ‘Big Society’;
• Supports ring-fencing of public health expenditure and believes that public health provision should be integral to the planning/commissioning of healthcare;
• Believes a major role for local HealthWatch should be to develop, support and collaborate with patient participation groups in every GP practice;
• Believes HealthWatch England must be adequately funded and wholly independent of government, local authorities and the Care Quality Commission, and its Board must be elected by local HealthWatch groups.
For further information about this story contact Mark Hope, Hackney LINk Policy Manager, tel: 020 8510 1973, email:
For further information about Hackney LINk see or contact Esther Norman, Hackney LINk Support and Development Manager, tel: 020 8510 1975, email:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Swords of Justice AND Civic Pillars

Just finished reading a very interesting report commisioned by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) as part of its Active Unions Active Communities programme.
Entitled Swords of Justice and Civic Pillars, the report uses Hackney Unites as one of its case studies. An excerpt can be downloaded here (right)but if you would like to see a copy of the full report then email:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Our Adiaha Antigha Community Achievement Award!!

As some of you already know Hackney Unites are the winners of an HCVS Adiaha Antigha Community Achievement Award 2010 - for being the voluntary and community organisation which has been the most enterprising in adapting to current challenges. Just thought you'd like to see the Award and our certificate..

Monday, September 13, 2010

Another Successful Workers Advice Session for Hackney Unites

Hackney Unite's resident blogger Mz Lashmore reports on another successful Workers Advice Session for Hackney Unites...

Although there was strong competition with Hackney’s Youth Parliament hosting their very first conference in the Town Hall, it was clear that members of the community are very concerned about jobs and impact the austerity cuts will have on their livelihoods.

The Community Centre on the Wilton Estate, Greenwood Road, Hackney E8 provided a comfortable meeting point. The session began with a brief overview of organisations and their rights to change employee’s working conditions. Of most interest was developing the understanding that changes to work do not leave the individual unable to do their job.

There was also an update from an advisor on Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Family Tax and Working Tax Credits. Crucial information was shared and most noteworthy was the fact that HMRC allow claimants up to three months to inform them of changes in their material circumstance before beginning proceeding for benefit fraud. Apparently there continues to be about £6 billion unclaimed from the Working Tax Credit purse. Those who are single and in full time jobs, but earn less than £14,000 are eligible to apply.

We then moved on to the private sector. Members of the public were able to inquire into the generic conditions of Constructive Dismissal before moving on to have private ‘one to one’ advice from employment lawyers and/or trained union employee reps.

Although these sessions are scheduled for two hours those who attend also have the opportunity to obtain a specialist’s employment law services, should they require. I find these public meeting provide a brilliant opportunity for Hackney residents to obtain support and advice about their individual work matters.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tea Dance - 70th anniversary of the Blitz!

Campaigners’ call for CLR James Library - News - Hackney Gazette

Campaigners’ call for CLR James Library - News - Hackney Gazette

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Greening Hackney Forum - this Saturday

This Saturday at 11am is a ‘Greening Hackney Forum’. An open meeting at Hackney Town Hall. There is no set agenda - just bring your ideas and priorities.
Contact Ian Rathbone for more details: