Meeting to discuss the future of Sutton's health care gets mixed reviews

Meeting to discuss the future of Sutton's health care gets mixed reviews

Meeting to discuss the future of Sutton's health care gets mixed reviews

First published in News This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

The future of healthcare in Sutton was discussed during a lively meeting.

Healthwatch Sutton organised a Question Time-style meeting where members of the public were given the chance to quiz health bosses and politicians on the future of health provision in Sutton.

The event, which took place on Thursday evening in Wallington, was disrupted by hecklers and has received mixed reviews - organisers have heralded it as a success, while campaign group Keep Our St Helier Hospital (KOSH) branded it a farce.

Prior to the event, Healthwatch was criticised for allowing questions to be submitted through Carshalton and Wallington's Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake's website. Although Mr Brake said the questions were not screened, critics said the event was politically biased.

During the event, the panel, which also included St Helier Hospital chief executive Chrisha Alagaratnam, Sutton and Cheam MP Paul Burstow and Sutton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) chairman Dr Brendan Hudson, fielded questions on the future of St Helier's A&E, the role of the CCG and more.

Despite repeated interruptions from hecklers, David Williams, who chaired the event, said he was pleased with how it went.

He said: "I believe we can count what was a disrupted meeting a sound success. The audience were given vital information that was offered by a high-profile panel."

Disruptions largely came from people accusing the organisers of the event of having a political bias although most members of the audience remained quiet. One audience member said the hecklers were the ones who politicised the event.

Campaigners from KOSHH said the event did not give them enough opportunity to ask questions and said questions that were asked were dealt with too quickly.

A spokesman called the event "farcical" and added: "We maintain our stance that using Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake’s website for RSVP administration and for submitting questions in advance of the meeting was a mistake.

"After the 15 pre-approved questions were answered quickly, the chair did allow for limited questions from the floor but abruptly called the meeting to a close."

Siobhan Tate, Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for Carshalton and Wallington, said: "There were four political groups at the meeting [The Liberal Democrats, Labour, Keep Our St Helier Hospital and Keep Our NHS Public] and only one was allowed to speak."  

A further similar meeting is planned for later in the year. 

Comments (12)

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10:07am Sat 19 Jul 14

Siobhan Tate says...

I wasn’t happy with the Chairing or that the answers to important questions were avoided but I did find common ground with Tom Brake MP and Councillor Dombey. For more detail and suggested answers to just two of those questions, please see http://www.siobhan4c
andw.co.uk/reflectio
ns_on_healthwatch_su
tton_s_public_meetin
g_17th_july_2014
I wasn’t happy with the Chairing or that the answers to important questions were avoided but I did find common ground with Tom Brake MP and Councillor Dombey. For more detail and suggested answers to just two of those questions, please see http://www.siobhan4c andw.co.uk/reflectio ns_on_healthwatch_su tton_s_public_meetin g_17th_july_2014 Siobhan Tate
  • Score: -2

10:42am Sun 20 Jul 14

salehmamon says...

I was there. The meeting in my view was an affront to democratic spirit and practice. The Chair , David Williams, needs a lesson in how to conduct a meeting in the tradition of democracy.Autocracy is simply unacceptable. This was not question time as we know it. He read our questions without even informing the audience who has asked the question. Follow up questions were not permitted except from members of the panel. It was clear that the Chair and Healthwatch were scared and that the adopted a strategy of denying people even the most basic right. He did allow some people to selected people to speak only. Oppositional voices are vital when you are talking about the future of NHS. Those respect evergreens who sat quietly through the meeting should wake up - this is about their grandchildren who will not have the NHS we know.
I was there. The meeting in my view was an affront to democratic spirit and practice. The Chair , David Williams, needs a lesson in how to conduct a meeting in the tradition of democracy.Autocracy is simply unacceptable. This was not question time as we know it. He read our questions without even informing the audience who has asked the question. Follow up questions were not permitted except from members of the panel. It was clear that the Chair and Healthwatch were scared and that the adopted a strategy of denying people even the most basic right. He did allow some people to selected people to speak only. Oppositional voices are vital when you are talking about the future of NHS. Those respect evergreens who sat quietly through the meeting should wake up - this is about their grandchildren who will not have the NHS we know. salehmamon
  • Score: 5

6:39pm Sun 20 Jul 14

Pippa Maslin says...

Despite my reservations about submitting questions via Brake's website, I submitted two questions and attended the event. One of my questions was used, but the answer given by Brake was unsatisfactory, and I am extremely annoyed that I was not given a chance to respond to his answer.

What happened last Thursday evening was not a meeting; it was a carefully orchestrated performance, and I am still incredulous at how the majority of attendees were prepared to just sit in silence as the microphone was passed between members of the panel - one of whom simply seemed to be reading off a bit of paper. If Question Time was your inspiration, Sutton Healthwatch, then I suggest that you watch it again. Question Time is designed around the concept of dialogue, and if you think that what happened on Thursday evening constituted a dialogue, then I am sorry to say that I question the legitimacy of your organisation. It is ridiculous that you expected people to make the effort to journey to the Trinity Centre one evening, but didn't give them the opportunity to speak. You might as well have typed up the script and emailed/posted it to people.

When it comes to the matter of people interrupting, I would say that, as someone who taught for twelve years in secondary schools and who now does some teaching at a university, I know how frustrating this can be. However, I believe that if people hadn't been expected to sit in silence - apart from the impromptu bit at the end - those who interrupted wouldn't have felt compelled to call out.

Furthermore, that Hudson (I believe it was him) at one point intimated that those who were interrupting were members of the Labour Party, I can assure you that that is most definitely not the case. If Hudson thinks that KOSHH is Labour in disguise, he is quite mistaken. I am a member of KOSHH, so I should know.

On a final note, the meeting was supposed to go on until 9pm and so I would like to know why it ended at 8.30pm.
Despite my reservations about submitting questions via Brake's website, I submitted two questions and attended the event. One of my questions was used, but the answer given by Brake was unsatisfactory, and I am extremely annoyed that I was not given a chance to respond to his answer. What happened last Thursday evening was not a meeting; it was a carefully orchestrated performance, and I am still incredulous at how the majority of attendees were prepared to just sit in silence as the microphone was passed between members of the panel - one of whom simply seemed to be reading off a bit of paper. If Question Time was your inspiration, Sutton Healthwatch, then I suggest that you watch it again. Question Time is designed around the concept of dialogue, and if you think that what happened on Thursday evening constituted a dialogue, then I am sorry to say that I question the legitimacy of your organisation. It is ridiculous that you expected people to make the effort to journey to the Trinity Centre one evening, but didn't give them the opportunity to speak. You might as well have typed up the script and emailed/posted it to people. When it comes to the matter of people interrupting, I would say that, as someone who taught for twelve years in secondary schools and who now does some teaching at a university, I know how frustrating this can be. However, I believe that if people hadn't been expected to sit in silence - apart from the impromptu bit at the end - those who interrupted wouldn't have felt compelled to call out. Furthermore, that Hudson (I believe it was him) at one point intimated that those who were interrupting were members of the Labour Party, I can assure you that that is most definitely not the case. If Hudson thinks that KOSHH is Labour in disguise, he is quite mistaken. I am a member of KOSHH, so I should know. On a final note, the meeting was supposed to go on until 9pm and so I would like to know why it ended at 8.30pm. Pippa Maslin
  • Score: 6

6:42pm Sun 20 Jul 14

Pippa Maslin says...

I forgot to say that I am afraid that Siobhan Tate is mistaken in calling KOSHH and KONP political groups. KOSHH and KONP are made up of grassroots campaigners.
I forgot to say that I am afraid that Siobhan Tate is mistaken in calling KOSHH and KONP political groups. KOSHH and KONP are made up of grassroots campaigners. Pippa Maslin
  • Score: 3

7:21pm Sun 20 Jul 14

Pippa Maslin says...

Oh yes, two more points:

(1) When I submitted my questions to Brake's website, there was a box that one could tick to indicate that one wanted to ask the question oneself. I ticked that box, but, as described above, did not get to speak, despite one of my questions being used.

(2) No one on the panel acknowledged that a predicted shortfall and apparently necessary 'efficiency savings' is going to make it extremely difficult - probably impossible - to have all the lovely healthcare provision that Dombey says she wants for Sutton.
Oh yes, two more points: (1) When I submitted my questions to Brake's website, there was a box that one could tick to indicate that one wanted to ask the question oneself. I ticked that box, but, as described above, did not get to speak, despite one of my questions being used. (2) No one on the panel acknowledged that a predicted shortfall and apparently necessary 'efficiency savings' is going to make it extremely difficult - probably impossible - to have all the lovely healthcare provision that Dombey says she wants for Sutton. Pippa Maslin
  • Score: 4

7:25pm Sun 20 Jul 14

Pippa Maslin says...

Oh yes, two more points:

(1) On Brake's website, there was a box that one could tick if one wanted to ask one's question oneself. I ticked that box, but, as described above, was not given an opportunity to speak.

(2) No one on the panel seemed to understand or be prepared to acknowledge that a predicted shortfall and apparently necessary 'efficiency savings' are going to make it extremely difficult - probably impossible - to set up all the lovely healthcare provision that Dombey says she wants for Sutton.
Oh yes, two more points: (1) On Brake's website, there was a box that one could tick if one wanted to ask one's question oneself. I ticked that box, but, as described above, was not given an opportunity to speak. (2) No one on the panel seemed to understand or be prepared to acknowledge that a predicted shortfall and apparently necessary 'efficiency savings' are going to make it extremely difficult - probably impossible - to set up all the lovely healthcare provision that Dombey says she wants for Sutton. Pippa Maslin
  • Score: 0

7:31pm Sun 20 Jul 14

Pippa Maslin says...

Apologies for posting something twice.
Apologies for posting something twice. Pippa Maslin
  • Score: 0

10:12pm Sun 20 Jul 14

Georgia Lewis says...

"were given the chance to quiz health bosses and politicians on the future of health provision in Sutton."

Only if "15 pre-selected and edited questions out of 40 submitted which were then read out by the chair and no follow-up questions allowed" passes as a "chance to quiz health bosses and politicians".

"I believe we can count what was a disrupted meeting a sound success. The audience were given vital information that was offered by a high-profile panel."

Only if by "success", he means a meeting where, with a couple of exceptions, no questions were really answered properly and "vital information" included panellists reading prepared statements that were largely PR.

Also, it was indeed curious that the meeting was indeed abruptly called to an end after Dr Phillip Howard embarrassed the panel with some statistics about St Helier's excellent A&E department half an hour before the advertised end time.
"were given the chance to quiz health bosses and politicians on the future of health provision in Sutton." Only if "15 pre-selected and edited questions out of 40 submitted which were then read out by the chair and no follow-up questions allowed" passes as a "chance to quiz health bosses and politicians". "I believe we can count what was a disrupted meeting a sound success. The audience were given vital information that was offered by a high-profile panel." Only if by "success", he means a meeting where, with a couple of exceptions, no questions were really answered properly and "vital information" included panellists reading prepared statements that were largely PR. Also, it was indeed curious that the meeting was indeed abruptly called to an end after Dr Phillip Howard embarrassed the panel with some statistics about St Helier's excellent A&E department half an hour before the advertised end time. Georgia Lewis
  • Score: 5

2:01pm Mon 21 Jul 14

Niki R says...

You can understand the confusion Pippa as KOSHH did field candidates at the local elections.
You can understand the confusion Pippa as KOSHH did field candidates at the local elections. Niki R
  • Score: 0

2:08pm Mon 21 Jul 14

Pippa Maslin says...

Niki R wrote:
You can understand the confusion Pippa as KOSHH did field candidates at the local elections.
KOSHH and KOSHH Party are separate entities, but yes, agreed, Niki.
[quote][p][bold]Niki R[/bold] wrote: You can understand the confusion Pippa as KOSHH did field candidates at the local elections.[/p][/quote]KOSHH and KOSHH Party are separate entities, but yes, agreed, Niki. Pippa Maslin
  • Score: 0

2:38pm Mon 21 Jul 14

Sameer the First says...

What a disgusting description above of (presumably) older people as 'evergreens'. The poster should apologise for this ageist, insulting and stupid remark about people who were clearly interested enough to turn out for a public meeting about the future of the NHS, even if they don't share his particular perspective.

The world would be a much better place if people could just show a little respect for each other.
What a disgusting description above of (presumably) older people as 'evergreens'. The poster should apologise for this ageist, insulting and stupid remark about people who were clearly interested enough to turn out for a public meeting about the future of the NHS, even if they don't share his particular perspective. The world would be a much better place if people could just show a little respect for each other. Sameer the First
  • Score: 2

5:04pm Mon 21 Jul 14

LiberalsOut says...

Pippa Maslin wrote:
Despite my reservations about submitting questions via Brake's website, I submitted two questions and attended the event. One of my questions was used, but the answer given by Brake was unsatisfactory, and I am extremely annoyed that I was not given a chance to respond to his answer.

What happened last Thursday evening was not a meeting; it was a carefully orchestrated performance, and I am still incredulous at how the majority of attendees were prepared to just sit in silence as the microphone was passed between members of the panel - one of whom simply seemed to be reading off a bit of paper. If Question Time was your inspiration, Sutton Healthwatch, then I suggest that you watch it again. Question Time is designed around the concept of dialogue, and if you think that what happened on Thursday evening constituted a dialogue, then I am sorry to say that I question the legitimacy of your organisation. It is ridiculous that you expected people to make the effort to journey to the Trinity Centre one evening, but didn't give them the opportunity to speak. You might as well have typed up the script and emailed/posted it to people.

When it comes to the matter of people interrupting, I would say that, as someone who taught for twelve years in secondary schools and who now does some teaching at a university, I know how frustrating this can be. However, I believe that if people hadn't been expected to sit in silence - apart from the impromptu bit at the end - those who interrupted wouldn't have felt compelled to call out.

Furthermore, that Hudson (I believe it was him) at one point intimated that those who were interrupting were members of the Labour Party, I can assure you that that is most definitely not the case. If Hudson thinks that KOSHH is Labour in disguise, he is quite mistaken. I am a member of KOSHH, so I should know.

On a final note, the meeting was supposed to go on until 9pm and so I would like to know why it ended at 8.30pm.
Dont forget Burstow and Brake voted twice for the legislation that could lead to St Helier and other hospitals being closed on the say so of the Secretary of State
So dont expect to see them fighting to save services
[quote][p][bold]Pippa Maslin[/bold] wrote: Despite my reservations about submitting questions via Brake's website, I submitted two questions and attended the event. One of my questions was used, but the answer given by Brake was unsatisfactory, and I am extremely annoyed that I was not given a chance to respond to his answer. What happened last Thursday evening was not a meeting; it was a carefully orchestrated performance, and I am still incredulous at how the majority of attendees were prepared to just sit in silence as the microphone was passed between members of the panel - one of whom simply seemed to be reading off a bit of paper. If Question Time was your inspiration, Sutton Healthwatch, then I suggest that you watch it again. Question Time is designed around the concept of dialogue, and if you think that what happened on Thursday evening constituted a dialogue, then I am sorry to say that I question the legitimacy of your organisation. It is ridiculous that you expected people to make the effort to journey to the Trinity Centre one evening, but didn't give them the opportunity to speak. You might as well have typed up the script and emailed/posted it to people. When it comes to the matter of people interrupting, I would say that, as someone who taught for twelve years in secondary schools and who now does some teaching at a university, I know how frustrating this can be. However, I believe that if people hadn't been expected to sit in silence - apart from the impromptu bit at the end - those who interrupted wouldn't have felt compelled to call out. Furthermore, that Hudson (I believe it was him) at one point intimated that those who were interrupting were members of the Labour Party, I can assure you that that is most definitely not the case. If Hudson thinks that KOSHH is Labour in disguise, he is quite mistaken. I am a member of KOSHH, so I should know. On a final note, the meeting was supposed to go on until 9pm and so I would like to know why it ended at 8.30pm.[/p][/quote]Dont forget Burstow and Brake voted twice for the legislation that could lead to St Helier and other hospitals being closed on the say so of the Secretary of State So dont expect to see them fighting to save services LiberalsOut
  • Score: 2

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