The first meeting of the group (before it became one) was under the auspices of 38 Degrees on 14 November 2012.
We then established We Are Waltham Forest: Save Our NHS and have since met more or less monthly, about 27 meetings in all.
By May 2013 we’d established a public presence across the borough and beyond through activities such as highlighting changes to both Intercare and stroke services, postcard signings (1706 delivered to the WFCCG), lobbying Parliament over section 75 and Clause 118, and distributing 4000 posters for a public meeting in May 2013. One of our group produced our own banner. Another launched the Save Our NHS East London hub. More recently, Waltham Forest Save Our NHS now has it’s own dedicated website. A second public meeting was held in May 2014, as well as a pop-up shop event organized in March by Healthwatch, with whom we are in regular contact. We have also had letters published and contributed to articles in the local press.
Early on we have had a regular presence at WFCCG meetings, tabling questions and receiving both formal answers and informal information over some 14 meetings.
Members have also attended and tabled questions at about 12 Barts Health Trust Board meetings, several WF Overview and Scrutiny Committee meetings, plus the Health & Well Being Board. Members have been elected to the CCG Patient Reference Group and Rapid Response Group.
Members have also attended the Lewisham Enquiry, the local People’s Enquiry, Unison and Unite meetings, local Labour Party policy meetings, public meetings on cancer services and pharmacies and events such as the CQC (Care and Quality Commission) and TSCL (Transforming Services, Changing Lives), plus contact with the group ‘Drop the NHS debt’.
We have attended several demonstrations at Whipps Cross and the Royal London and marches including Whipps Cross to Selbourne Walk, the 50,000 strong march In Manchester, Save Our Surgeries in Tower Hamlets and the London section of the 999 People’s March for the NHS.
We have naturally been at the forefront of support for Charlotte Monro, one of our members, in her bid to overturn her dismissal on what we consider to be scandalous and unjust grounds, a case highlighted by Polly Toynbee in the national Guardian.
In March 2013 we agreed Terms of Reference for the group and amended the title to Waltham Forest: Save Our NHS.
At the end of 2013 we established contact with similar campaigns in Newham and Tower Hamlets, and have since had six meetings of the joint campaigns, out of which an initial 4-sided Newsletter was produced. It was noticeable that the other campaigns have GP’s heavily involved, and WF are in the process of attempting to involve GP’s in our own group.
There have been meetings and written exchanges with local MP’s, Iain Duncan Smith, Stella Creasy and John Cryer (in descending amount of contact).
There has also been a private meeting with members of Barts Health Trust Board, where we were invited to table questions and received verbal and written responses. Another meeting is scheduled to take place in the near future on TSCL.